What stopped you from acquiring that new skill (ii)?

Last week, I wrote about the apparent disconnect between a person’s desire to learn a new skill and their ability to commit to a learning program. I also provided four questions to ask yourself if you find yourself dragging your feet over acquiring a new skill. If you haven’t read that post, you might want to do so before this one. This week, I will focus on some of the unique challenges that come from trying to acquire a new skill online.

Self-motivation is key

Many Online courses come with a flexible schedule. You are able to work through the content at your own pace and submit answers to quizzes when you have covered the material. This flexibility is, ironically, the reason so many people struggle to complete online courses. When a Lecturer says they will not accept any assignment submitted after Friday, students make sure to submit their work before Friday. For a self-paced online course, you have to set your own deadlines and allocate daily study time. Otherwise, the progress bar will never move towards completion because you can always opt to continue tomorrow.

Make this day great
What have you chosen to do today?

Information overload

Regardless what skill you choose to learn, a unique challenge people face today is access to too much information. In the past, you had to go to a library to find a book on an area of interest. Nowadays, you can learn all sorts of skills by watching Youtube videos. The problem with access to this much information is there are a lot of people out there at various levels of skill offering information about various topics. A friend once joked that you find people who have never invested anything in their lives selling investment courses to the gullible. Different people will have different budgets but generally, I’d choose a paid course from a recognised Institute over searching a Youtube Video. I’d also choose to learn from a person who has experiencing doing what they are trying to teach over someone with dubious credentials. Not all Internet gurus are real. Anything can be faked on social media.

Garbage in, garbage out
Too many choices does not make choosing easier

Narrow your focus

Earlier this year, I made the decision to upgrade my data analysis skills through Google’s Data analytics Course. I already had broad, working knowledge of Microsoft Excel and Statistics so I had a decent foundation from which to start. One of the skills an aspiring data analyst should have is knowledge of SQL and R. Coming from a non-programming background, I found these aspects more challenging. In order to be able to use these skills, I realised I must be willing to commit more time than I had budgeted. However, the Course I was taking also offered an Interesting Statistic: 62% of companies still prefer to use spreadsheets for their data insights. The quickest way to improve my value was to master more advanced spreadsheet functions. I, therefore, made the decision to focus on spreadsheet skills until I can make time to register for a more beginner friendly course that will introduce me to R and SQL. The point I’m making is you don’t have to learn it all at once. Pace yourself.

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