how to quickly learn a new digital skill

If you are about to read this then I want to believe that you have come to appreciate the importance of having some digital skills in this day and age. In a fast-paced world, as we have now, speed is everything. 

Once you have made up your mind to learn or master a skill, you definitely would like to do that as fast as possible. It is therefore important for us to lay down the principles that will guide you to learn any digital skill of your choice quickly.

Before I introduce you to the principles, it is only appropriate for me to explain what digital skills actually are for the sake of those who do not know what they are. If you already know what digital skills are, you can skip to the principles, otherwise, you may also want to read through the definition to refresh your memory on it.

You can watch this video to understand how to learn any digital skill quickly.

What are digital skills?

Digital skills refer to a set of skills that enable us as humans to make use of electronic gadgets, systems, devices, and resources to communicate with one another, share information, collaborate, and even get work done in a more efficient way.

Possessing the right set of digital skills can elevate you above your peers. With such skills, you become highly employable and you can even make money from the digital skills that you possess.

The specific digital skill that you need to learn depends a lot on the situation you find yourself in as well as the place where you find yourself now. In this article, I am making the assumption, that you already have a digital skill in mind that you have decided to master.

If you are not sure which digital skills to learn, you can still read ahead to appreciate how to quickly learn any digital skill. I also promise to write more articles on various digital skills and how to choose a digital skill to learn.

There are six principles that will guide you to learn any digital skill as quickly as possible and I am going to elaborate on each principle below. Let’s get started.

What are the principles that will help you to learn any digital skill quickly?

The 6 principles are:

  1. Getting to know the study methods that are most effective for you
  2. Establish your motivation for choosing to learn that digital skill
  3. Learn the basics
  4. Work on some projects
  5. Become a member of relevant communities
  6. Find a mentor or someone to be accountable to

Now, let’s take each principle and explain how it applies to helping you learn a new digital skill quickly.

Principle 1: Getting to know the study methods that are most effective for you

Everyone is different and everyone learns differently. The secret to succeeding at mastering that digital skill you have chosen is to know the best way you learn best. If you learn using the wrong method, it may take you forever to master that skill.

The content that you are going to use to study the new digital skill comes in various formats. You can have lessons in the form of videos, books, audio, in-person training, etc. So, the question is, which of these formats is the best for you.

If you don’t have any previous experience learning a digital skill, then look back to any previous learning experience. When you were in school, what study methods did you like the most?

If you are anything like me then you can study well with any of the formats. However, not everyone is like me so I encourage you to find the format that works best for you. If you aren’t sure about that then just start with any of the study methods or formats that you get access to.

Not knowing what works best for you shouldn’t be an excuse for you not to start learning that digital skill.

Principle 2: Establish your motivation for choosing to learn that digital skill

Any time someone approaches me and expresses interest in learning any digital skill, the first question I ask is, why? What is your motivation for wanting to learn this digital skill?

So, in your case, silently answer the question now, why do you want to learn this digital skill?

Make sure you come clear with your motivation for wanting to learn the skill. The journey to becoming a master at any digital skill isn’t that rosy.

You are likely to face a number of challenges along the way. Without the right motivation, you are likely to give up even before you realize it. Going with the wrong motivation will usually land you midway.

When it becomes difficult to continue, the only thing that will keep you going is your motivation. Some common motivations for learning various digital skills that I have heard some people give include:

  • Because I heard I can make money with the skill
  • Because it’s nice to have that skill
  • Because my work demands that skill

Let’s take the first motivation and discuss it. This will only be a good motivation if you are indeed able to make money from the skill as soon as you want it. Unfortunately, this is not the case most of the time. 

You start to learn the skill, begin to use it just as you were told, and for a very long time, you make nothing out of it. That is where the frustration sets in and you easily give up.

I have been in that shoes before and I can testify that it isn’t fun at all. I, therefore, advise against learning a digital skill with the primary goal of making money, especially for those who do not currently have any source of income and would want to depend solely on the money they make from the digital skill they are about to learn.

Before you choose to learn any digital skill, get to know all the advantages as well as the disadvantages of having that digital skill. Once, you are aware especially of the disadvantages, you are likely to make an informed decision on whether to learn the skill or not.  

Principle 3: Learn the basics

Once, you have established a good motivation for learning that new digital skill, the next thing is to get to the learning part. Begin by learning the basics of the skill.

Don’t make the mistake of jumping into any of the advanced things yet. The basics of most digital skills are usually boring. The advanced stuff looks more attractive and you may be tempted to jump unto them as soon as possible.

Let me share a personal experience with you. When I began learning web development, I found that Javascript was very difficult but one javascript framework known as jQuery was quite easy and fun to work with.

I quickly ditched learning javascript and started working with jQuery. I enjoyed this until I decided to learn a more advanced framework (because jQuery was becoming obsolete). That was when I came to realize the importance of having to learn the basics. 

I couldn’t just switch to the next framework. I had to go back to learn the basics of javascript before proceeding to learn the next framework.

I, therefore, encourage you to spend some good time learning the basics of any digital skill you choose. Make sure you understand the basics because every other thing you do will be a build-up on the basics.

Principle 4: Work on some projects

As soon as you master the basics of the digital skill that you are learning, move on to work on projects. Search online to get ideas on some possible projects you can do with that digital skill. Invest time and energy into building projects no matter how small the project is.

Doing some real-life practical experience will give you the right experience you need especially if you intend to seek job opportunities with the skill that you are learning.

What I usually recommend is that, if you are going to use an online course to learn a new digital skill then choose a course that is project-based. This means that you will have completed a few real-life projects by the time you su7ccessfully complete the course.

Principle 5: Become a member of relevant communities

In a previous post about how to improve your digital literacy, I wrote about why it is important to associate with people who have the skill that you want to become better at.

One way to learn any digital skill quickly is to find yourself in the midst of other people who are also learning the same or similar skills. You learn a lot from failures. You will fail a number of times in doing certain things with the new digital skill that you are learning. 

You become better by learning from these failures. If you are fortunate to find yourself in a community with people just like you then you can learn from not only your own failures but the failures of the other community members. By so doing, you master the digital skill faster than you would have normally been able to. 

These communities could be online communities like Facebook, Telegram, or WhatsApp groups. In fact, Techpady also has several associated online communities for digital enthusiasts like you. You can click on the respective group to join it (Telegram, Facebook, and WhatsApp).

Apart from online communities, you can also join various in-person meetup groups. This depends usually on your location. In case you find yourself in a locality that has a number of these meetup groups, just identify one or two that revolve around the skill you want to learn and join that group.

Principle 6: Find mentors or people to be accountable to

Lack of accountability has been found to be one of the major reasons why most people give up their dreams of being masters of certain digital skills.

When you are accountable to someone, you usually do everything to be in their good books and for that matter indirectly remain consistent with your studies.

The reason why college studies are able to go through their courses irrespective of how hard a course maybe is because of accountability. They force themselves to study even when they don’t feel like it because they are accountable to their lecturers. They have to account to their teachers during their exams. 

They also remain accountable through the various assignments and projects that they are given to submit by a set deadline. This helps keep them in check and ensure that they focus on the reason why they are in school. 

To replicate this kind of success in learning any digital skill, you also have to have someone to be accountable to. You can achieve this by finding mentors in your field of interest and reporting directly to them.

Conclusion

By following these 6 principles to the core, you will be able to learn any digital skill you choose as quickly as possible. If you have any questions concerning these principles, go ahead and ask them in the comment box and I will do my best to respond to you.

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