4 Tips for learning new software quickly

A new software program requires time and effort from the user to learn it and to start working with it. These tips will help you to shorten your learning curve:

1. Don’t be passive, take action!

We retain ….

20% of information if we just hear it
50% if we hear and see it
70% if we say it
90% if we say and do it

That means attending a software demo, watching an instructional video or reading a manual will only help you a little. These are the first steps to take, but then you have to really come to action. Say what you want to accomplish with the software and start doing it!

2. Exercise with practical examples and data

Make sure that the exercises in the software are appealing to you. The subjects of the practice material and the data used should match with what you will be doing with the software in practice. Follow stepwise processes that you will also encounter in everyday use.

3. Choose the right moment to practice

Give yourself the time and peace to get to know new software. Reserve a few hours to work undisturbed and uninterrupted on learning the new software. Also choose a time when your brains are active and alert. This is necessary in order to be able to absorb new information. If you start working with the software for a couple of hours in the morning after a good night's sleep, you will retain much more information than on a Friday after a busy week.

4. Ask your colleagues to help you

If you run into a problem in the software, the first thing you should do is try to find the solution yourself. You will learn more if you try to solve the problem yourself than by directly looking up the correct answer. And you should realize that you are not alone in this; do not hesitate to ask your colleagues to help you. Two know more than one and a fresh look at a problem can be very useful.

Of course there is always the software vendor you can approach. Avoid getting frustrated over the software, there is a solution for every problem.

Philip van Kemenade is marketer at Dysel and is in contact with software end users every day.