Learning new software is hard


No matter how ‘intuitive’ a new piece of software is, it’s still hard to learn how to work it properly. It’s a bit like learning a new language – there are so many words and phrases, yet most of us will only need to learn a small percentage of them to speak it. With software, there’s usually so much that it can do, yet for most people, they only need to use some of it to do their job.


You only know what you know

When learning new software, it makes sense to get an understanding of what it’s capable of. If you don’t know it could do something, you’re not likely to ask how to do it. On the other hand, if you try to learn every single thing that it could do, you’ll likely end up overwhelmed, confused and will struggle to remember the bits that you need to. This is why it’s so important when you attend a course, to think about what you’d like it to be able to do and ask your trainer those questions. It's also why it can be really useful to learn with other people - you'll find out what they want to learn and can decide if that would help you too. Often, it's through listening to other people's questions or ideas about how they'll implement the training that's the biggest takeaway. It's also useful to watch other people work - you'll see some people right clicking, some people using shortcut keys and others using the menu. You just might find another way of doing something that would suit you better.


You have enough to do

To become good at something, we all know we need practice. It can be challenging to find time to play around with new software and practice the things we learn when we’re all so busy. When you’re learning how to use new software, try to set aside some time (even 5 minutes) each day to practice. We don’t just need practice though, we need good practice.

So, the next time you go on a course, don’t just leave your notes in a drawer, use them to help you practice well. Download the activities and have a go at them. Set yourself mini challenges as well - when you're learning Excel, get rid of your calculator to force yourself to try formulas.


It was easier the old way

In the short term, it often feels like the old way was quicker, but that’s just because you’re not used to the new way yet. Like most things, you’ll get quicker with practice and most organisations will only upgrade to new software if it’s going to lead to better productivity. Of course, if after a while, it’s still taking longer, it might be worth discussing with your manager. It may be that there are procedural changes needed to speed things up. In most cases, new software will lead to greater productivity. In all cases, learning how to use the software will lead to greater productivity. Again, learning with other people can help here as you'll be able to share your challenges and successes along the way.



Join us to learn more about Microsoft Excel. This advanced course will help you with formulas, analysis tools, automating boring tasks and generally using Excel better to get things done quicker.


It starts 13th February and comprises one, hour-long virtual workshop each week for four weeks, plus downloadable practical activities and information.

Read more about it here.



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