The process behind learning a new skill

John Sherman

It’s never too late to start, that’s what they always say.

Though most of the time these worn out old sayings tend to be best taken with a hefty handful of salt, in the case of learning a new skill, whether as a hobby, for success in your work, or even to improve the health of your brain, this one hits the nail on the head. Regardless of your age or standing at in your career, learning new skills are incredibly beneficial.


The process of learning new skills gives individuals brand new abilities that can be particularly useful for an employer, as well as new perspectives and insights into the role of skills in any given workplace position. Even new skills that you may not feel relevant to your work can still be used to express the variety of aptitudes you have.

Here’s a look at the process behind learning a new skill and a suggestion of key points that will help you reach your goal.

Pick a New Skill and Make Sure It’s Worthwhile

Like most things in life, making the decision and taking the first step on the road is the hardest part of the whole journey. But once this is achieved, every other stage along that journey diminishes in difficulty.

To get you started with learning a new skill, you’ll first have to pick one. With all the interesting, exciting topics out there this can be tricky. Try first to first focus on a few of your preferences, then you can narrow those choices down.

Learning new skills for work require two main questions. The first is to ask which aspects of your job you enjoy the most. The second is to ask whether what you like doing is valued by your employer.

Deciding on your favorite aspects of your workplace role and basing your new skill on that will make the process of learning easier. Rather than a chore, it’ll be a joy. So for example, if you like watching the way people tick, you could learn a new skill through taking an organizational behavior course. But if you’re a computer programmer, is that going to help your career? That’s why you need to know whether the new skill you want to learn is valued in your corporate environment.

Set a New Skills Target, and Stick to It!

Here’s a fact that won’t surprise anyone: If you don’t put the work in then you’ll never achieve your target. The strange thing is that while everyone is aware of the importance of setting targets and putting in the hours of practice, few people ever do.

Once you’ve picked the new skill target, you set off on your journey. Attend the classes, practice what you’re taught and do not stop trying to learn. The more you practice, the better you get. But make sure your goals are realistic.

If your aim is to be able to hold a conversation in Italian but rarely practice speaking then don’t be shocked when your target deadline passes and you can’t even talk about the weather.

Remember that practice makes perfect and that it’s okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are part of learning and they remind you that you’re not quite there yet. Use them as a means to go on.

Put the New Skill to Use – Dive In!

The ability to make mistakes dovetails well into the next point in our new skill learning process, which is simply this:  Remember to use your new skill!

Crazy idea, right? But this needs to be repeated. What is the point of learning a new skill if you’re not going to use it? If in the workplace a manager requires some help with HR work and you happen to have recently finished that organizational behavior course put yourself forward. If you’ve successfully completed that Italian conversation class and the boss is having trouble communicating with a client in Rome offer your new skill and dive right in.

A Method to the Madness – Make New Skill Learning Easier

Remember that in the journey of acquiring a new skill there are some factors that will make success more of less likely. One that we’ve already mentioned are picking a skill that will be valuable and that you think you’ll enjoy earning. Another is setting realistic goals.  But one of the most important factors in learning a new skill is the method of learning.  Online courses are a fantastic way to assist learning.

Resources like online learning course, or eLearning, are really helpful for professionals of any age. They’re mobile for learning anywhere, and flexible to suit any lifestyle. Working full time is no problem for online courses because you can go at your own pace. If there are kids to look after, you can log on and study after they’ve gone to bed.

For the most flexible yet effective of learning methods, look no further than an online learning course.

New Skills: Hard and Soft

Enrolling on a course that certifies your ability to work in a group or that you are able to motivate others may seem a little silly, but put your biases aside for a moment.

Soft skills – those personal attributes that allow individuals to work harmoniously with others – are very highly considered. In fact, those who do not exhibit social abilities are unlikely to be considered for leadership roles. Soft skills are vitally important at leadership level.

So learning new skills that positively reflect your social abilities is time well spent. Add strings to your bow by certifying your attributes. Soft skills are needed now more than ever.


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