How to Learn Any New Skill Fast: Full Guide
We all wish we could just download new knowledge into our brain and become instant pros at playing guitar or speaking Japanese. However, we don’t live in the Matrix. [Though some think we do. Maybe you think so too? Tell us in the comments.] So, don’t waste your time looking for Morpheus and Neo as we have some cool tips for you on how to learn new skills fast. And what’s even more important, how to enjoy the process of learning. Let’s get started with our guide.
Step 1: Define Your Learning Style
The way we absorb information is crucial when it comes to learning. For some of us, it’s much easier to learn through visuals and illustrations; others prefer podcasts and audio guides. Why is it so? Because all people can be categorized according to the learner type. So, there are four types of learners:
Defining your learner type is essential in order to find the best strategy to learn new skills. If you find the best format of lessons that suits your type, for example, video tutorials as the best way to take in information for visual learners, you will master a skill faster. What’s even more important, you will enjoy the process much more when it matches your learner type.
Step 2: Set Goals
Setting goals is one of the most effective ways to move forward step by step until you reach a certain point that matches your expectations. When you set goals, not only do you define what you want to achieve, you also make it easier to define what steps you need to take. Goals motivate us and allow us to fill up our lives with significant sense. What would our lives be like if we didn’t have any goals in life?
So, the best way to get into the mood of learning is to set a goal that would motivate you to try your best and put your effort into the process. Goals are pretty personal, but they should always bring your inspiration and motivation.
For example, a guy likes a girl and wants to impress her with a romantic song accompanied by a guitar. Isn’t it an impressive goal? It is! And it definitely can motivate him to start learning to play guitar. Or if you want to move to another country, it’s a wonderful reason to start learning a new language.
Set long-term and short-term goals. The latest helps you in the process of mastering new skills as it’s the way to track your progress and celebrate small victories. For example, finishing one more section of the course by the end of the month is a short-term goal that helps you stay focused on your long-term goal – finishing the whole course.
Step 3: Be Consistent
The secret to effective and productive work is to be consistent and persistent. The more you wo0rk on structuring your learning process, the more you focus on the regularity of your study sessions, the better results you get.
Even spending only 15 minutes per day polishing your skill or learning something new makes a huge difference in perspective. Here are a few tips on how to be consistent with your learning process:
- Plan your day in order to have time to learn no matter what it is – learning theoretical material or spending time practicing.
- Keep it balanced. Learning a new skill should be a harmonious part of your well-balanced daily schedule.
- Set priorities. The most urgent tasks should be done in the first place. However, putting your skill polishing process at the back of the list is not the best strategy. You should have enough energy and patience to learn new skills.
- Create a lesson plan. Usually, your teacher is the one who is responsible for the learning process and the plan of lessons, material, visuals, etc. Now, when mastering a new skill, you are the one who should do that. Create a plan with all the material carefully separated into small portions, add some practice parts for each lesson, and put all of it into a schedule for next month.
- Don’t forget that you should revise old material from time to time. Be sure to put this into your study plan. Maybe you would find some regular tests useful. They help you track the blind spots in the material that you should go back to in order to achieve full comprehension.
The fact that your self-teaching process is not a part of your college program doesn’t mean that you should not take the learning process seriously. Make it a part of your daily routine and be strict enough with yourself, especially when it comes to the temptation of skipping study sessions.
Step 4: Use Effective Methods
To make the most out of the time you spend on mastering the skill, you should find the best material and the best study method that would help you improve the productivity and effectiveness of your sessions. Here are a few techniques that can help you in the process:
- Take advantage of the Pareto Principle. The Pareto principle states that 20% of effort brings 80% of the result. How can you use this principle in the process of mastering a skill? Let’s say you are learning to program. Search for the most commonly used commands and code parts to focus on them first. They will build the core of your knowledge of the field and help you start with the practical examples on hand instead of the dry theory that takes a lot of time to comprehend and remember. It also applies to other spheres.
- Polish each step. The best way to avoid wasting your time when learning some new skill is to break the task into smaller pieces to master and polish each isolated portion. For example, if you are learning to play kalimba, learn one easy melody and practice it until it sounds perfect.
- Test, test, test. The best way to memorize something for a long time is to take tests and challenge yourself to solve harder problems.
Take the lead instead of letting material or course program guide you. Search for something new, extra details, video guides, conferences – being curious and feeling passion towards the learning process is the best way to master a new skill fast.