Developing new skills involves implementing different approaches and tools.
The best learning tools break the training process into smaller tasks and provide feedback for assessing the learner’s progress. From experience-based strategies like role-playing exercises, simulations, study examples, and practice testing, some tools can help define goals and motivate you to engage with the material. Best of all, many of these tools are easy to access and use from anywhere. They allow flexibility for both self-directed study and collaborative learning.
What Are the Best Learning Tools?
1. Online Course Platforms
If you’re reading this, you already have the hardware necessary to get started with online learning platforms. Online courses are super useful for learning skills that involve computer skills, such as coding, graphic design, and creative writing, to name a few. However, online courses are also valuable for learning practical skills, such as culinary arts, music, accounting, and many others. With online courses, you get access to high-quality content from experts, as well as interactive activities and assessments that allow you to practice what you’ve learned and track your progress. You can access your course through your laptop and your phone, as many platforms come with a dedicated mobile app. Popular online courses include Udemy, Coursera, Lynda, edX, LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, and Khan Academy. More about them later.
2. YouTube Video Tutorials
3. Physical Books & Ebooks
For those who prefer traditional forms of learning materials, books & ebooks are valuable tools for skill development. They are still outstanding resources when trying to acquire new knowledge or hone existing skills. Legendary children’s book author Dr. Seuss once wrote: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Books and ebooks offer detailed explanations and come with helpful diagrams, illustrations, examples, and exercises which are especially useful if you’re learning a new language. I highly recommend checking the Kindle platform as well, as it offers many amazing features, including a multilingual dictionary. Amazon has an extensive selection of books covering almost every subject imaginable, so finding something relevant should not be difficult.
4. Podcasts & Audiobooks
Podcasts and audiobooks are becoming increasingly popular among learners looking for audio content related to their field of interest. They typically feature interviews with professionals in various industries, discussing topics such as career advice, industry trends, or even personal stories about success in their respective fields. There seems to be at least one podcast that caters to anyone’s area of interest, like literature, technology, sports, cryptocurrency, and many others. Listening regularly will keep learners up-to-date on current events while providing valuable insights into different areas of expertise at the same time.
5. Apps & Software
Mobile apps have become indispensable when mastering certain skill sets because of their convenience factor. Users can access them anytime, anywhere, without having to carry around bulky textbooks or other materials. Educational mobile apps are probably one of the most used and best learning tools today. They are conveniently accessible and many of them are free. Not only that, many are gamified too for a more fun learning experience. Software programs like Adobe Creative Cloud Suite offer comprehensive packages containing multiple applications designed specifically for creative professionals, such as graphic designers and photographers. They’re also full of professionally designed tutorials that will get you started with these apps.
5 Surefire Ways to Speed Up Your Skill Development
1. Find a Suitable Teacher
There’s no substitute for a good mentor if you want to speed up your progress. A mentor can provide guidance, support, and advice on how to become a better writer, singer, baker, tennis player, etc. For writers, there are many ways to find mentors, such as joining a writer’s group or taking a class with a writing instructor. Once you’ve found someone willing to guide you, take advantage of their expertise by asking lots of questions and getting feedback. Remember that it doesn’t have to be in person, as right now, you can connect with anyone online and schedule a Zoom call or Google Meet.
2. Use Spaced Repetition
One of the most effective learning methods is spaced repetition. It’s a technique for efficient memorization and practice that involves spreading out the intervals between repetitions of information until they become longer and longer. By spacing out your repetitions in this way, you will better remember the information you want to absorb. It will also make it easier for you to recall these memorized data when you need them. There are several spaced repetition apps available that can help you implement this technique (most notably, Anki and Anymemo). They are well worth checking out if you are serious about improving your learning skills. By using spaced repetition, you can speed up your skill development and make the most of your time and effort.
3. Use Technology
There are many ways that you can use technology to improve your writing skills or any type of skill. One of the most popular and effective ways is to use a grammar-checking tool like Grammarly. It is a great way to catch errors you might not otherwise notice to help improve your writing. Another great way to use technology to improve your writing is to join an online community of writers. It will enable you to get feedback on your work and interact with other writers who can offer helpful advice.
4. Set Attainable Goals
Setting goals is a necessary part of any successful skill development plan. Without goals, it’s difficult to measure progress and stay motivated.
Before starting on your learning journey, ask yourself these questions:
- What are my long-term and short-term learning goals?
- What one skill would make the most positive impact on my career right now?
- What is my preferred learning style?
- How much time can I spend each day to learn something new?
Ponder the possibilities, and soon you’ll start coming up with some creative solutions to your learning challenges.
5. Take Advantage of Other Online Learning Resources
With the rise of e-learning, it’s a piece of cake to access top-notch educational materials online. You can find courses covering a wide variety of topics, such as computer science, mathematics, and even art history. I’ve already mentioned in the “Best Learning Tools” section some of the most exceptional purveyors of online courses. But I didn’t go into any details yet about what these companies offer. For example, Khan Academy offers an extensive library of courses with everything from basic math and science to personal finance and SAT prep. With Coursera, users have options to enroll in dozens of accredited university-level courses taught by instructors from universities across the globe. Lynda provides training for a range of digital media skills, like video production, web design, and animation. EdX offers free online classes written by esteemed professors from top universities like Harvard and MIT. Finally, Udemy is an ideal resource for anyone interested in business or technology since they offer specialized courses for those eyeing careers in those industries. Whether you’re looking to supplement your formal education or simply gain more knowledge, there are plenty of high-quality online learning resources available at your fingertips.
We have discussed the best learning tools and strategies that can help you develop new skills, such as taking online courses, finding a mentor, and taking advantage of technology. You can then supplement these tools with experimentation, practical applications, following expert advice, and talking to other people. These learning techniques can be incredibly effective, but finding the one that works best for you is essential. As everyone has different styles of learning and preferences, it is important to find which training tool suits you best. Take the time to assess the options available to focus on those training methods that can push you towards your goals.
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