There is no one solution that works for everyone, as learning a language is different for every individual. You will learn Spanish or French differently compared to your friend. Some people like reading and writing, some crave grammar structure and rules of a language, some hate "academic" learning, and prefer to learn a language by immersion in the sounds of the language....
The good news is, by recognising the type of learner that you are, you can learn more efficiently. Check out the learning personality types below, and see which one describes you best!
The "Casual" Learner
The casual learner does not want to look at textbooks, learn grammar rules or spend lots of time studying. They like flexibility in their language learning process. The internet is an ideal place to learn for casual learners, spending time on language websites and with language apps. Watching TV and listening to radio in an fully engaged manner is also good idea for casual learners.
The Studious Learner
The studious meanwhile will do absolutely EVERYTHING in their power to succeed and move fast! Language courses? Of course! Exercises at home? Obviously! They buy any and all course books, do the exercises, learn all the grammar rules, study the vocabulary, and so on.
The studious is very motivated, they will actively participate in language courses. They are the nerd from school that wants to sit in the front and get A grades - they are willing to do whatever it takes to learn effectively!
The motivation to learn will always be one of the strongest points in learning a language and the studious learner has this in abundance.
The Talkative Learner
These are extroverted learners, perhaps not as academic as some, but they like to learn by speaking and listening as much as possible. They try to speak as much in the target language as they can. The seek to communicate as often as possible in the target language, such as meeting other language learners, online or in person, talking to natives in shops, cafes and so on. This type of learner is willing to make mistakes and is not afraid of looking foolish in their newly acquired language. The important thing for them is thy are actively using the language.
The Shy Learner
The shy language learner is introverted and does not like to speak in a group. The main fear is that making mistakes will make them look foolish. They feel embarrassed with a different language and strange sounds.
It is like when a child learns. When a child learns, they are not embarrassed, they are unafraid to have faulty sentences and bad pronunciation. However for an adult language learner, making childlike mistakes can be paralysing and a hindrance to learning.
The shy person can use the fear of making mistakes to drive them to seek precision in the language, as a motivation to use correct grammar and pronunciation. The shy learner wants to know what is said, not approximately, but word for word.
The "Naturally Talented" Learner
This mythical language learner can annoy other learners! They appear to absorb the language without effort, but don't like being told so! This person appears to be multilingual in 3-4 languages, some of which seem to be learned in 6 months!
Don't believe the hype. While some people may appear to be "gifted" linguistically, this doesn't mean it's easier for them to learn a foreign language compared to others. If the myth of the naturally talented language learner is true, then there would be no motivation for many to learn a new language. What counts most when learning a language is focus and motivation. A motivated learner will push past difficulties and obstacles they face, because the desire to learn is so strong. A focused learner will find the method that works best for them, and work hard on the areas that they struggle with.
If you come across a person that appears to be naturally talented, the most likely reason is that you have found a motivated and focused learner, who knows what learning style matches their personality the best, and uses this insight to learn effectively!