Most people want to new learns new skills and many times you probably make a promise to yourself such as, “I want to learn X this year,” or “It would be nice to learn Y to expand my skillset.” The problem is, most of us are excellent at getting that big idea, but terrible at putting into practice.
You may have found when you attempt to teach yourself a new skill at home is just how hard it is. That dream of learning a new skill suddenly becomes a reality of hard work and it stops being fun. But here’s the thing, learning from home can be fun. Whether you are taking private lessons online or going it alone, here’s some tips for boosting your learning potential.
Switch It Up
Most people have misconceptions around learning, one of the biggest being individuals have different ways of learning more efficiently. For example, “I am a visual learner and cannot take things in any other way”.
This is simply not true; people do not have predetermined learning abilities focused on one thing. Sure, you may feel more comfortable with a specific learning style by the truth is no “type” has an impact on your brain’s ability to learn.
It’s a learning myth that needs to be broken. You can start by taking yourself out of your learning comfort zone. If you believe you are visual, look for something that is auditory or written word. That does not mean ignore visual content, but instead train your brain to take benefits from all types of learning material.
Take a Hands-on Approach
Another myth is that learning because harder when we get older. That’s not entirely accurate, we may lose more time and deal with the pressures of adult life, but we are still as humans wired to learn. Think about it, you have undoubtedly learned more as an adult than you ever did as a child in school.
Classic studying is hugely helpful in becoming an expert in a new skill, but sometimes nothing beats the hands-on approach. For example, if you want to learn to draw, reading about techniques will help you, but putting pencil to paper and drawing something will provide far more results.
Practice Makes Perfect
It’s one of the fundamental truths of learning a new skill… you must practice. Even if you are a natural talent or virtuoso, practice takes you to new levels. One of the most interesting things about learning is adult at-home learners will often complain about practice. It’s a strange irony when someone picks a skill to learn presumably because they enjoy or need it, but then complain when they must practice that skill.
If you find you hate practicing the skill you have chosen to learn, it’s perhaps time to look for another one. Either way, you need to practice what you learn to get better at it. Practice often and try to expand and not get trapped into repetitive practicing when you simple practice what you already know.
Double Down on the Difficult Things
And that means paying extra attention to those parts of your chosen skill that you struggle with. For example, if you are learning to play guitar and are amazing at the basic chords, but struggle at soloing, much of your practice and learning should focus on soloing. It’s a similar idea with language learning, practice more those difficult words and sentence structures more than the words and concepts you already know.
Being outside your comfort zone and targeting growth in your learning can help you achieve deeper understand of the skill you have chosen. It also helps you become a more efficient learner.
Take Some Tests
No one likes tests and exams, but schools, universities, and even companies use tests for one good reason. They are excellent at highlighting how far along someone is in their learning. They are perhaps not a complete picture but can point to areas where you need to improve. Whether you test yourself at home or take an online test, it’s an excellent way to mark your progress and give you something to aim for.