Given Protagion’s preoccupation with development and lifelong learning, today we share a video which we hope will inspire you to learn something new. Josh Kaufman’s TEDx talk sets out four steps to learning something in only 20 hours.
His entertaining talk is almost 20 minutes long, and within this time is a practical demonstration of Josh himself practising the ukelele, singing a pop medley! His endearing presentation style is quirky, and well-suited to the university audience he was speaking to (Colorado State University).
The key question Josh poses is “How long does it take to acquire a new skill?”. The topic of acquiring knowledge and learning new things is referenced in two other Protagion posts about breadth, depth and expertise:
Josh refers to the 10 000 hour rule (which he points out is the same as a “full-time job for 5 years”) which argues that it takes that amount of practice time to get to the top of your field. It comes from studies of expert-level performance among professional athletes, world-class musicians and chess grandmasters.
But, he also argues that people can get ‘good’ at something with a little bit of practice, given the slope of the learning curve. He proposes that with 20 hours of focused, deliberate practice, done efficiently, we can perform at a reasonable level. He sets out some steps to rapid skill acquisition, which we’ve added our own thoughts to:
1) Deconstruct the skill
2) Learn enough to self-correct
3) Remove barriers to practice like distractions
4) Practise for at least 20 hours
And, for those looking for the highlights of Josh’s talk only (or a refresher), here is a 3 minute version.