How to learn a new skill

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Did you land in this article while finding ways to improve specific skill such as communication skill? You landed in the right place. If you know what skill means and technique to use to learn new skills, then skip reading this article and move on to how children learn.

Should skill be practiced or is it just learned? The above title should have been “How to master new Skill” rather than just learning a new skill.

Learning Skill Development Pyramid

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Have you wondered why all programming languages are called as a skill instead of knowledge? Though we read and understand a lot on how to program, it is not called as a subject (subject is closely related to knowledge).  I could not find What skill means in general (not any particular skill) when I searched the Internet. So, I decided to write this topic HOW TO LEARN NEW SKILLS

What is Skill

In Wikipedia, which appears as the Ist result in search engine for Skill, Skill is defined as

A skill is the learned ability to carry out a task with pre-determined results often within a given amount of time, energy, or both. In other words the abilities that one possesses.

http://www.businessdictionary.com, which is the second search result, explains Skill as follows

An ability and capacity acquired through deliberate, systematic, and sustained effort to smoothly and adaptively carryout complex activities or jobfunctions involving ideas (cognitive skills), things (technical skills), and/or people (interpersonal skills).

If you understood what skill means and how to learn new skills, then proceed with other articles in this blog.

My understanding of Skill

I would like to define Skill as below

Skill = Knowledge + Practice = Ability Acquired through Experience

According to me, the only difference when to compare to knowledge is the emphasis of practice.  You master the skill by doing more practice and learn tips and tricks either by yourself or from others on how to effectively perform the skill. Practice make the man perfect. My understanding as well as from my experience, practice makes skill perfect

Rigorous practice on particular skill makes the man expert in that skill

When I started comparing it with games, it also has the same definition. Games are nothing but learning the rules and playing it

Game = Learn Rules + Play

This insight made me clear that why are we so much interested in learning new skills compared to acquiring knowledge. Acquiring knowledge is boring as it does not make us feel that we have accomplished something (technically it does not release any chemicals like dopamine), but skills and games, on the other hand, make us feel that we have accomplished something by either winning or losing.

Now that, we understood what skill means, let us get on to basics on how to learn new skills

Technique – How to learn new skills

Learning new skill is seven step process as outlined in the above How to acquire new skills infographics, during the course you would move from novice level to expert level in using the skill.
  1. Learn about What Tools should be used to master the skill
  2. Identify the general technique or method to use the tool
  3. Start Practicing the general technique or method
  4.  Learn or come up with your technique to use the tool in different ways
  5. Learn tips and tricks or identify them yourself to effectively use the tool
  6. Practice more using different technique, apply various tips and tricks to improve
  7. You naturally perform the activity unconsciously without the involvement of the conscious memory.

Let’s say you want to learn about car driving; your first step should be to learn about required tools. Tools required for this example are clutch, gear, accelerator, break.

The next step is to learn and understand the general technique or procedure to use every tool, which is taught in driving class or by our friends.  The third step would be taking the car with your friend and drive it. After, making a lot of mistakes you will be comfortable using all the tools.

The fourth step would have style for your driving such as driving using one hand even while taking U-turn, etc. The fifth step is to learn when to apply break, the safe distance to keep, etc.

The sixth step is to improvise techniques, tips and tricks and more practice. The seventh step is driving the car perfectly back to home thinking about how to come out of your problems.

Watch this video find out how Josh Kaufman learned how to play guitar in 20 hours. Watch him play it in Ted talk towards the end..

About Prabakaran Thirumalai 809 Articles
Blogger on topics including Life Skills such as Learning, Thinking, Emotional Intelligence, Motivation, and Social Skills.

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