THE BLOG

Four Steps to Learning New Skills and Make Sure They Stick

01/05/2013 12:51 BST | Updated 25/01/2016 10:59 GMT

Remember trying to learn how to count to a hundred when you were a kid? What about learning to drive? Do you remember the satisfaction and pride you felt after you mastered these skills?

We all want to learn new skills, whether it be a technical skill or just something interesting to study, people feel a certain sense of satisfaction when learning something new. Learning is a part of personal development; every time you learn something new, you get a bit closer to reaching your full potential.

In the business setting, competition is getting tougher every year so without new skills to back you up, you're not likely to succeed. The problem is the process of learning can be tedious, boring and frustrating, so it's no wonder some people are put off studying, preferring to be content with having a paying job.

To make the process of learning less stressful and more effective, it has to be shortened. Fluff and unnecessary information should be weeded out of the curricula.

Businesses do not have the luxury of spending much time on training people, and I'm sure you don't have that much time reading a 100-page manual as well.

Below is a four-step process that will help you learn new skills quickly and easily:

1: Learning Objectives

This is perhaps the most important step in the entire process. Think of what you want to learn and achieve at the end of the learning session. Think about the behaviors or skills you'd like to develop after the whole process. The entire learning session will be hinged upon the objectives you set. After that, create a list of materials, books, seminars and all the information you plan to digest- all of this should contribute to the objectives you have set. When developing the objectives make sure they are specific, achievable, measurable, timely, and relevant. Your personal development will be measured by how much you achieve at the end.

2: Content Chunking

Now, take each objective and jot down key content components to help you develop the learning modules useful to the learning sessions. List down main subjects through phrases that are related to each objective; by doing this you will be able to create a learning schedule based on "need to know" content linked on your objectives.

3: Activity Selection

Learning by experience is a great way to boost learning and personal development. Take each content topic and develop key activities to support each. Learning activities are best done by active interaction and participation making use of the given information.

4: Sequence Course

Now that you have the objectives, contents, and activities in place, it's time to make a sequence of how the learning session will take place. A clear step by step process is critical to organize the session and ensure that time is maximized and spent wisely. The sequence course will serve as the guide from start to end.

By following this four-step guide you will be able to create effective learning process for almost every skill imaginable. If you train other people, I recommend gathering key stakeholders to discuss and finalise the key components of the learning session. You may assign key members of your team to take the lead on certain areas of the session.

Make sure you are able to document the entire process, as this will serve as a guide for learning other skills or for sharing your knowledge with others.