We all have preferred ways of learning.  Some prefer to read, others to listen, but both benefit from repetition.

My mother would learn to spell new words by tracing them out on her palm. I am learning German so I keep a grammar book in the bathroom, but it is slow going, mostly because I don't "do" enough.

Understanding how you learn best can help you develop a learning strategy that works for you.

Think how very small children learn, and how you learnt your native tongue as a child. Children aren't born able to read or write, but they watch and they listen and they repeat - a lot. It must work, or we would all start school unable to utter a word, we would just sit there and wait for the teacher to fill us with his / her wisdom. The fact is that humans are learning machines, we are at our happiest when we are learning, and we tend to succeed when we learn by doing.

Let's face it, the first words a child speaks are celebrated, it's only later that everyone tells us to sit quietly and open our books at page number xx. The other thing that children do really well, is make mistakes, and at first they make loads of them; ‘Me want’ or ‘Joey’s engine’, but no one seems to mind, and so they aren't frightened of making those mistakes. The trick clever parents use is to not repeat what the child says wrong, but to gently correct them by saying the phrase correctly "I want" or "My engine". Again it's only later that the dreaded red pen comes out and we start to fear those mistakes. So, try to find that fearless child again, celebrate your successes and treat every mistake as a learning opportunity.

As an older learner you can do a lot for yourself. Listen carefully and read as much as you can. There's no need to learn in isolation, find a learning partner, or join a group, use social networking sites, choose a networking site and make that your de facto English site, only post there in English, and only read other posts in English. Avoid cut and paste learning, write your thoughts, not quotes and ideas from other places on the net.

As an adult, you're not restricted to sitting at a desk, pen in hand. Get out and about, go for a coffee and read the menu in English (translate it into English if necessary). Think about each of the dishes on offer, even if you aren’t ordering them. When you get up in the morning, look out of the window and think about the weather, go onto Twitter / Facebook / Yuku, and leave your own weather report. The world is your classroom and your playground.

Once you have found a group or someone else to talk to, even if there are only two of you practise and learn together. You could simply chat about the things going on in your lives, or you can pick a topic or a news story and try to stick to it, using as much new vocabulary as you can.

Basically, whatever your learning style, however you decide to continue, you must practise, practise and then practise a bit more.