Have you ever wanted to learn to use computers in a skilful way but always thought that they were too frustrating? Well, yes they can be, but all it takes is a bit of patience and a willingness to take baby steps.
Identifying what it is you really want to learn
The first step is to identify what it really is that you want to learn on the computer. There as so many different areas of computers these days and trying to narrow down what it is you’re interested in can be a challenge.
Generally, the way I’d approach this is to make note of the areas you are naturally drawn to. Possibly this might be the hardware side of things, setting up networks and routers and so forth. Or, you might find it interesting what’s happening with mobile phone apps. You may personally spend a lot of time on your mobile phone. Whatever it is, make note as this could form the basis of your launchpad into more in-depth learning on a given field of computing.
Here are some ideas to get started identifying why it is you want to learn to use computers. Possibly you could create your own check list.
- Computer networking
- Software development
- Website development
- Computer security
- Mobile applications development
- Server administration
- Internet of things (IoT) networking devices
- Learning specific applications well, eg Photoshop
Breaking learning up into small steps – find a teacher on or offline
When I say find a teacher, you don’t need to necessarily find someone in your local circle of friends. It’s generally easier to seek teaching material out online with a virtual teacher. There are so many places you can go these days for tutorials and courses. Quite often you can find the exact topic you want. Many educational websites have structured courses with video explanations, text notes and research material. Totally self-paced so you can learn at your own speed.
Here are some resources that will help you learn to use computers…
YouTube – There’s a lot of video content on YouTube. One thing you may not have realised is that there are heaps of full courses on how to learn to use computers. For instance, see this course Full Ethical Hacking Course – Network Penetration Testing for Beginners by the freeCodeCamp.org channel. Almost 15 hours of course material, for free. Computer security may not be your thing but you see what I mean. There are heaps of examples like this. The freeCodeCamp.org channel has lots more video learning material.
Udemy – While a lot of the educational content on Udemy is paid, there are a lot of free courses to help you learn to use computers. Browse some of the free sources on this page.
Alison – A good range of free computer courses here. Try having a browse of the Information Technology (IT) section of the website. Accessing the courses does require signing up with an email address or social account.
Coursera – Another option for searching for alternative free computer courses.
Practice regularly and follow what you enjoy doing
This goes back to the first point I made earlier. Really home in on what it is that drawing you to learn a certain field of computing. If your heart is not in it, you’re not going to get the momentum to see you through learning the topic completely. Using the computer needs to be enjoyable, so there needs to be something that keeps on bringing you back to learn more.
Connect with like-minded people on the same learning path
Everyone is different. Some people learn better by themselves with a single-minded focus and others prefer to connect with others to bounce questions off. Quite often connecting with others provides the opportunity to tap into what someone else knows and likewise pass on information that you know. I would say if you can seek out others that into the same field of computing it could accelerate the learning process. Also, it can help to solidify your learning being part of a group where everyone is interested in the same thing.
Build a strong learning base so your computer skills can grow
Once you progress with your what ever it is that you’re learning, take some time to reflect on how far you have come and what it is that you’ve come to understand. Quite often there’s a tendency to dwell on the things that we don’t know. While this maybe true, the feeling can discouraging and prevent you from going forward. It’s always good to give yourself a pat on the back and remind yourself what you have learnt so far. This sense of achievement can help to foster positive feelings that future learning goals are attainable. All it takes is some patience and self encouragement.