Over the past year, the way of life has changed across the world. While it’s been a challenge to adapt, many people have been utilising the opportunity to learn a new skill. Learning a new skill has so many personal benefits, from helping to reduce boredom, to increasing your adaptability levels, reducing the risk of brain diseases and improving mental health. Learning a new skill can also open new doors for your career and enable you to develop friendships and deeper connections with others.
One of the great things is that it’s so easy to learn a new skill from home now by utilising all of the digital assets available to you. With thousands of free online resources, the ability to find online tutors and a whole online community of like minded learners to grow alongside, now has never been a better time. So if you’ve been thinking about learning a new language, learning how to play a new game, or want to brush up on your history knowledge, here are some top tips for helping you to learn.
Plan structured lesson times
It can be really easy to just skip a few days of learning because you’re too busy or too tired, but forming a structured learning pattern is essential if you want to keep making progress. Try to set aside some time every day to focus on your new skill and plan what you’re going to do.
If you’re following a structured online course or learning with an online tutor then this can be a little easier. However, if you’re learning a new skill on your own, it’s best to set yourself manageable goals and objectives for each lesson so that you’re clear about what you want to achieve.
Try to split your lesson into 3 halves. At the beginning, spend 20 minutes doing a research activity by perhaps creating a quiz for yourself, or by brainstorming everything you already know on that topic. For the main part of the lesson, you should set yourself a task to complete. This could be writing about the topic you’re learning or by completing an online resource. Then at the end of the lesson, try to spend 20 minutes reflecting on what you’ve learnt.
Look after your physical health
In order to give yourself the best possible chance of learning, it’s important to look after your physical health. Studies have found that when people become dehydrated, they lose the ability to stay focused and their brain cells lose efficiency. Try to stay hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water throughout the day.
It’s also important to make sure you get outside if you can to get some physical activity. Exercise is thought to release endorphins in the body which help to increase mood and concentration levels. Getting fresh air will also help you to feel less tired throughout the day.
Another essential factor is ensuring you get enough sleep. The average adult needs at least 6-9 hours sleep each night in order to function at optimal levels during the day. The exact amount depends on the individual so it’s important to listen to your body.
Utilise online resources
It might not be possible to go to the library right now, however there are so many resources online. From blog posts and forums where you can chat with likeminded learners and ask all your burning questions, to ebooks and whitepapers. There are also a range of handy apps for learning that make it easy to practice your new skill while on the go.
Another method of learning is to listen to podcasts. Podcasts offer expert insights and new ways of thinking about a topic that could open your mind up to a new approach. This is particularly helpful if you’re reaching a roadblock with your new skill.
For those that struggle to learn by themselves, there are also a range of sites and apps that offer online tutoring. This can be beneficial if you learn better by being guided and it also means there’s someone to hold you accountable for your progress.
Utilise offline resources
Sometimes it can be good to get some downtime from the screen. If you work on a computer all day, then it can be tiring for our minds and also put a strain on our eyes. Learning a chosen skill away from a computer such as chess, poker or thinking games can give you a break from technology and you may be surprised how quickly time flies. One way to improve your skill could be joining a club, such as a chess club, where you can pick up new techniques and moves from your peers. There is also a huge range of different books to be found which go in-depth and can be found very easily by using the likes of Amazon. If you’re learning a skill like poker, these poker books offer a range of insights into developing your skill set. Reading books on different skills is a never ending source of information and is a very important way of learning.
Overall, learning a new skill can be exciting and incredibly rewarding. It can also be challenging as you push yourself to improve and progress. Yet, thanks to technology, there are now more resources than ever before, from e-books to podcasts and free online worksheets. It’s also never been easier to connect with communities of like-minded learners through forums, online chats and blogs. So what are you waiting for? It’s never too late to begin learning a new skill.