Thank you all for participating in my little survey. Below are the results of about 500 answers. Below the image, you’ll find how scientists answer the question and why you should be skeptical when someone tries to sell you fun ways to learn German.
Interesting was also to see that most of those who pledged for “fun” also took the “easy path” in the (about.com) newsletter. I have a very critical view on all those “Learn German with fun” approaches. I understand that it is necessary to entertain learners when the content is dry and possibly difficult. But the German language itself is amazingly beautiful and learning something new is incredibly motivating by nature. There’s no need to add any more “fun” to it.
Honestly spoken, I’d say that it is the school setting that makes it necessary to entertain German learners despite their initially strong motivation. You can compare it with normal schools for children and teenagers and the question arises whether language schools are actually doing the German language a “Bärendienst” (lit.: bear service, disservice). The talk by Sir Ken Robinson at the bottom of this post dives a bit deeper into this topic.
They say: “The best way to learn German is to fall in love with a German.” I read this like: when your motivation is right, the circumstances are “zweitrangig” (secondary). I’d simply remove the article “a” from this statement: “The best way to learn German is to fall in love with German.” I’m in love with my own language because I have understood it to a degree that reveals its full beauty to me. And I’m happy to share my insights with you so that you can, too, one day fall in love with it or if you are already infatuated keep this feeling alive forever.
Last but not least I’d like to recommend Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning to you if you got a few hours to spare and if you are interested in learning German for a longer period of time. If you are an educator of any kind, this book is a must. It provides a solid and understandable overview of relevant studies about learning efficiently. I have read hundreds of books and articles over the last years and this one sums it all up.