Learning a new skill


Changing the way you talk or use your voice doesn’t have to take that long

It has been said that it takes 10,000 hours to learn a new skill. This is not true.  It may take that long to be the top of your field in highly competitive areas, such as sport, music, computing, writing and so on.  But how long does it really take to change the way you physically do something, or learn a completely new skill?

This TED talk  by Josh Kaufman explains that Learning a new skill doesn’t take that long

According to his research it takes about 20 hours and not 10,000 (the equivalent of working full time for five years)

The essentials are:

1. Break down the task into the component parts

2 Learn to  self-correct

3. Remove barriers to the practice

4. Practice

What stops you learning is more emotional than intellectual or practical.  If you believe you can do something new,  you can do it. If you break it down into small component parts and build them up, you can do it.   If you start to notice what you are doing and make slight alterations, you can do it.  If you make opportunities and take away distractors, you can do it. If you practice it repetitively, you can do it.

Josh Kaufman’s ideas are not that different from the way I work with my clients to  help them make changes to the way they use their voice or their speech.   A very useful model that I use to help make changes to behaviour was developed by the team at  UCL Centre for Behaviour Change

Motor learning Theory, is also a very helpful model to help me teach my clients how to acquire a new physical skill.   This involves:  modelling and copying, self-monitoring, focusing on the outcome and not the process, feeding back on the positive outcomes, lots of practice!




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