Developing a skill

The essence of skills development is the process of becoming more effective and efficient (faster, more precise, more contextually aware, and so on) at a task or set of tasks.

To become more skilful is to transition from a lower level of skill (imitation) to a higher level (mastery), where the skill is instinctual and often habitual.

Skills tend to get embedded as habits due to the frequent practice required to hone a skill. This is good, but it carries with it the danger that when the skill becomes irrelevant, due to changing circumstances, the habitual behaviour will continue despite evidence that it is no longer appropriate.

The development of skills often follows the ‘see-try-do’ methodology, ideally in the context within which they will be used for real, and with feedback from others and from environmental cues that denote success or failure.

Think of some skills that you have.
How did you develop them?
Why did you develop them?
Sometimes we develop a skill on purpose, sometimes it is a side effect of pursuing some other goal.

Think of a skill you would like to have now.
Why do you want it?
Is that level of desire sufficient for you to put in the work to develop the skill?
What steps would you need to take to develop the skill?

You will likely need some new knowledge, but mostly you need to experiment and practice while getting quality feedback.

How can you bring these ideas into play when designing an L&D programme to develop a skill?