Feeling overwhelmed at learning a new skill

Did I mention that I'm learning to play the drums? I wanted to learn when I was 11 but school didn't let girls do things like that (why?). Those things stay with you though and 18 months ago I bought a second hand drum kit, then just before Christmas I booked my first lesson.

Tuesday, 9th February 2016, 11:14 am
Drum kit: made by David Nuttall, Jalapeno Drums, Lancaster.

I’ve discovered playing the drums isn’t quite as easy as it looks especially as I’m dyspraxic, but at least now when someone on one of my workshops says ‘it’s alright for you, you don’t know what its like not to know how to do it’, I can smile to myself as I do know exactly what that feels like. This all really got me thinking about how we expect adults to learn digital skills. I have a 40-minute lesson then Neil, my drum teacher, sends me home to practice for 10 minutes a day, and that is exactly how to learn a new skill.

However, all too often adults who are slightly terrified of the digi-world are asked to attend a three-hour class and are then meant to be competent. Social media isn’t just ‘click that, do this’, it’s a new way of communicating. Twitter is a great tool, but 60 per cent of people who open an account abandon it as they just don’t understand it.

I’m trying very hard to beg or steal some funding to run classes for the over 50s who have been made redundant and find themselves unemployable as they never learnt digi-skills. I’m determined I will run those as three x 90 minute lessons so participants are not left feeling overwhelmed. Have you noticed the dominance of the digital world has led to a retro-revival of things like record players, LPs, Polaroid and disposable cameras? This week I heard there’s a movement to make films on real film again as directors feel there’s more depth and it’s more romantic than a digital recording. I’d forgotten about going to the cinema and seeing the start and end of the reel.

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I read a report that employees are working up to an extra 20 unpaid days a year because of smart phones as they are being expected to send emails etc from home. I’ve even met people who are asked to manage the company Facebook page at home in their own time.

This means employees are not resting or switching off. Then I found myself having a conversation with a very nice plumber via Facebook message - at 10.30pm on a Friday. ure it’s convenient, but is it healthy?