10 Steps To Learn New Skills (With Tips)

Updated March 10, 2023

Learning new skills can take time and patience. However, when you commit to learning something new, you can increase your opportunities for career advancement, expand your professional networks and enhance your knowledge base.

In this article, we explore the importance of learning new skills, 10 steps for learning new skills quickly and some tips to help you accomplish your learning goals.

Why is it important to learn new skills?

Learning new skills can be highly beneficial to your career as it can help you position yourself to take on new projects and leverage new knowledge to advance. Showing that you are open to learning new things can also show employers that you value your commitment to your career and their company.

Learning new skills can also lead you to career fields that you may not have previously considered. For instance, if you learn new customer service skills, you can then be more applicable to higher-level positions in sales, advertising and related roles.

Related: 30 Top Skills To Learn Online

How to learn new skills quickly

You know you want to learn new skills, but you want to learn them quickly so that you can start reaping their benefits. Use these steps to get there quicker:

1. Set your learning goal

The first step to acquiring new skills quickly is to set a goal that you want to achieve. For instance, if you want to develop your public speaking skills, your learning goal might be to master the essential skills for delivering an impactful speech. Once you have set your learning goal, you can make approaches to learn new skills.

Related: 17 of the Best Online Courses for Improving Your Skills

2. Break down your skill set

Next, break your main skill down into separate sub-skills that encompass the whole skillset. For instance, if you want to learn new technology skills, you might make a list of all the separate, smaller skills to master such as typing, creating documents or compressing files to send in an email.

Related: 20 Essential New Skills To Learn to Advance Your Career

3. Identify potential barriers

After finding the best methods for approaching your learning, you should identify any potential barriers or challenges to your learning these skills. Make a list of these barriers—such as finances, time or commute—and then, introduce a list of motivations for learning this new skill—such as career advancement, more money or fluency in a second language for international travel. By seeing both outlined together, you can determine how to make your development more accessible and realistic.

Related: 35 Best Online Training Sites To Build Your Skills

4. Apply the "80/20" rule

The "80/20" rule refers to the idea that 20% of the learning approaches you identify and use can lead to accomplishing 80% of your goal. So if your goal is to master essential communication skills, the "80/20" rule implies that you can master 20% of communication sub-skills (such as improving tone, using professional vocabulary in written messages or learning to interpret body language) to master 80% of your overall communication skills.

5. Focus on one skill at a time

As you further develop in learning new skills, focus on one sub-skill at a time. Taking on a new skill set can often be overwhelming, but by separating it into small, achievable increments, you can chip away methodically to realize the whole.

6. Prioritize personal development

Overcoming challenges to your learning can also mean prioritizing your personal development. This might mean setting aside time to practice or study your skills or seeking out opportunities to further your progress. Making your personal development a top priority can help you when learning new skills.

Related: How to Develop Your Skill Set to Advance Your Career

7. Set more long-term goals

When you approach learning a new skill, you might consider setting more long-term goals rather than short-term objectives. While short-term objectives can help you monitor your progress, focusing on your results as long-term goals can help you learn different approaches to overcoming challenges and motivate you even when you come across obstacles.

8. Find opportunities to practice

Seek out more opportunities to practice the skillset you are learning. For example, if your goal is to learn new ways to communicate or initiate a conversation with others, you might think about volunteering at a community center. Or if you want to learn essential child care skills, you could volunteer at a local child care facility, school or other youth centers. The more opportunities you have to practice what you are learning, the more chance of success you will have at accomplishing your goals.

9. Seek out additional resources

Look for additional tools and resources to help you learn your skills. For instance, if you are learning new computer skills, you might consider checking out library books on the topic to help you study, or you might join a community group to learn computer and typing skills at a local community center or online. Finding additional ways to help you in your progress can be highly effective for overcoming learning obstacles.

10. Use mistakes as learning tools

Making mistakes can be a beneficial tool for learning. As you practice your skills, you may make mistakes, but learning what not to do next time gets you that much closer to your goal. For example, learning new coding languages as a software developer might lead to small errors along the way, such as a broken code or a forgotten lesson. Using these mistakes as tools can help you figure out where you went wrong, what elements to fix and maybe even insight into your next approach.

Related: Setting Goals To Improve Your Career

Tips for learning new skills quickly

Learning new skills can take time and patience, as well as motivation to succeed. Consider the following tips to help guide you when learning new skills.

  • Be patient with yourself: Since it can take time and consistency to learn a new skill set well, remaining patient with your progress can help you stay motivated to achieve your learning goals, even if you come across challenges.

  • Keep a record of your learning: Consider documenting your progress as you accomplish your learning objectives to measure and monitor your progress. It will show you how far you have come as well as allow you to quiz yourself on already-mastered concepts.

  • Take advantage of resources: Research different approaches to mastering the skill by reading online guides, communicating with others in online forums or joining a group of professionals who are learning the same skills.

  • Evaluate your new skills: One of the most effective ways to develop your new skillset is to constantly practice and evaluate what you have learned. For instance, you might practice your communication skills by making conversation with new people or you might take weekly self-assessments to test your new tech skills.

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