How to Learn New Skills: 6 Strategies That Work.
Do you want to know how to learn new skills? As an adult, learning something new can be difficult. But here are 6 learning strategies that work.
Learning something new doesn’t end with formal education, yet all too often we tend to forget this.
As we leave the class setting behind and enter the working world, we start a job, enter the 9-5 grind, and forget our curiosity is a key part of what makes us feel alive.
Then we get that itch; the aching desire to learn and grow. Sometimes it creeps up slowly, like the urge to stave off the monotony of a routine life. Other times it strikes us like lightning on a sunny day, such as an opportunity for a new position or career path.
Yet either way, we find ourselves faced with a yearning to discover how to learn new skills.
You’re never too young or too old to feed it, either. With these six learning strategies, you’ll find you’re capable of teaching yourself something new long after your degree is earned and hung on the wall.
6 Great Tips on How to Learn New Skills
Learning is a process, but it doesn’t have to be a boring process. By combining the right strategies with keen focus and a tenacity to learn, you can pick up new abilities and absorb new knowledge.
Here are six tips on how to make it happen:
1. Immerse Yourself in the Learning Process
Despite the large push by the education industry to establish the belief that everyone has their own unique learning style, many studies say differently. Limiting yourself to a single “learning style” prevents you from truly immersing yourself in a multi-faceted learning experience.
A great example is trying to learn a new language. While you may consider yourself a visual learner, that doesn’t mean you’re going to become fluent in a new language by simply utilizing visual exercises.
You need to immerse yourself in the learning process through various means, such as:
- Using some of today’s best language learning apps for daily lessons wherever you are
- Listening to music in that language
- Reading news articles, literature, or poetry in that language
- Watching television shows or movies in that language with sub-titles for translation
- Finding someone you can practice speaking the new language with on a regular basis
It isn’t one of these practices but the combination thereof that allows people to become fluent in a new language. That is why so many people move to a new country to immerse themselves in the language they want to learn.
This same practice can be applied to learning other skills, as well. When you find various ways to learn and practice a new skill, you enable yourself to become more flexible and efficient in it.
2. Give Yourself a Reason to Learn
Simply having the vague desire to learn isn’t enough to keep us motivated. We have to have a concrete reason or desire to drive our interest and keep us dedicated to developing our chosen skill.
Why? Because we retain information that interests us or that we value as important. If you need proof of this, think back on your years in grade school and college. What do you remember?
Not everything. Only the skills you use regularly or the information you found to be interesting or valuable.
The same goes for learning a new skill. Give yourself a reason for learning and retaining it by setting an end goal. That goal could be to earn a promotion, hold a conversation with someone in a different language, or build your own website using a coding language you haven’t grasped yet.
By establishing your end goal, you have a reason to work hard and keep your eyes on the prize.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Put a New Skill into Practice
You can spend countless hours with your nose in a book learning about a new skill, but you’ll never acquire it if you don’t put that skill into practice.
Don’t be shy about getting hands-on and trying this new skill on for size. You don’t have to be perfect on the first try. Fumbling and failing is part of the learning process.
The great thing about messing up is that you can still take something away from the experience. Use failure as a tool to adjust and improve your strategy.
Real life application is a professor within itself. As you practice the skill you’re trying to learn, you’ll teach yourself more than a textbook or article ever could while making practical use of this ability until you perfect it.
4. Identify the Masters, and Learn from Them
Experts earn their title. If someone is considered a master of a specific skill, make it a point to study that individual and learn what you can from their experience.
You’ll find listening to their expertise and paying attention to how they practice the skill can help you avoid their mistakes while fast-tracking your learning experience.
This isn’t a new learning strategy. You’ll find many of the “greats” in various subject took this approach. For example, the three great names in Greek philosophy (Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle) all held a student-teacher relationship.
Socrates taught Plato, who in turn taught Aristotle. However, even though they are all philosophers, their philosophies were not all the same. Plato and Aristotle both created their own philosophies while using the critical thinking skills taught to them by their mentors.
5. Focus on Your Weaknesses
As you pick up a new skill, you’ll find certain aspects come easier than others. For example, perhaps you are excellent as pronouncing words in a foreign language and memorizing its vocabulary, but you struggle with the grammatical structure.
Again, practice makes perfect. When you encounter challenges, invest additional time and effort into honing these skills. Don’t leave weaknesses in your process.
Only when you refine every element of a specific skill can you can master it.
6. Don’t Forget to Take Breaks
While consistency is very important in learning a new skill, you don’t want to burn yourself out. Make sure you give yourself breaks.
One approach people use to make their learning approach more efficient is by applying the Pomodoro Technique. This technique has individuals applying time blocks to their learning sessions which are broken up by brief breaks to help your mind recover and refocus.
Go Forth and Explore
Now that you know how to learn new skills, discover more. Challenge yourself as you expand your mind, test your body, and develop new abilities. After all, you never know what you are truly capable of until you try.
If you’re eager for a challenge but you don’t know where to start, check out our inspirational articles. With a bit of browsing, you’re bound to uncover something new that captures your interest.