As we all know aptitude depicts a person’s innate abilities of acquiring skills. Aptitude is what differentiates a person from the other on the basis of his inborn qualities of acquisition of knowledge. Aptitude, intelligence, memory, interest all are interrelated. And the correlations of all these result in a person’s ability of learning new things. The amount of aptitude a person has in a particular field points out how well he can perform in the same. It is also a suggested factor in how effectively he can learn new things.
A skill is the acquired capacity of an individual to carry out pre-determined consequences often with the minimum outlay of time, energy or both. How well a person can learn, and why a person can graspmore subtleskills than his fellows can be answered with his aptitude score on any standardized aptitude test. Such tests segregate individuals on the basis of his intellectual and cognitive abilities. Skill learningcan be more effective if a person has more aptitude in that particular domain interest. Skill learning fundamentally hints at the ability to perform some complex tasks efficiently as well as smoothly. The reason why few candidates can perform better than the others is because they have greater aptitude, and they can finish tasks effectively with the help of the abilities that they possess internally.
Such skills in the candidates can be divided into subject specific and subject general skills. In working environments, important organisational skills of the candidates which include few general skills like time management, self-motivation, teamwork and leadershipetc. is important. Organisational work also requires domain specific skills. However the former is only useful for certain job positions. While general skills are an indispensable part of every clerical as well as managerial job positions, different job posts require different specific skills too. It is of usual occurrence that skills require some environmental stimuli and situation to assess the level of skill being shown and used. In order to develop a skill a chain of perceptual motor responses and events need to occur as a sequence of stimulus response connection.
Not only does a person need to be focused and aware of environmental stimulations, but also he should pass through several qualitatively different phase. Only this way the individual can learn any particular skill in effectively. The reason why organisations demand skilled workers is, because a skilled person requiresputting much less effort in the very job,to obtain the best possible results.As a person gradually climbs the ladder of consecutive successive attempts at learning skills, his performance becomes smoother and less effort demanding.One significant reason why most often workers feel burdened with work is that, they lack necessary skills in the job position they have been appointed for. Or it may so happen that once they are appointed in the post they do not work to enrich themselves with knowledge and skills further. And in consequence lag behind gradually.
Once a person effectively learns the particular skill that is demanded in a task, his performance gets better, and it becomes more spontaneous or automatic.In every successful step that a candidate takes towards learning a skill, the performance improves. In case if the performance of the individual comes to a standstill while moving from one qualitative phase of skill learning to the other, such a condition is known as the performance plateau. This is most likely to occur since there is no learning for some time, and the brain is not getting enough food to feed on. Once the next phase begins, performance starts improving once again, and its level starts going up.
It is commonly believed nowadays that the phases of acquisition of skill scientifically divided into three sequential stages. These are the cognitive phase, the associative phase and the autonomous phase. And each phase or stage of skill learning involves different types of mental processes.
- In the cognitive stage of skill learning, mostly the identification and development of the component parts of the skill occurs. This means that here when the individual is just exposed and explained the kind of skill he is going to learn, he immediately forms a mental picture of the skill. The cognitive stage is also associated with every outside cue, instructional demand and response to stimuli.Alsothe candidate’s response has to be kept alive in consciousness.
- The next stage of acquisition of skills is the associative phase. Needless to say the name itself suggests connecting the component parts of the ability. That is to say different sensory input for stimuli are related or associated with particular significant responses to make a smooth action pattern. This in turn involves practicing the skill and using feedback to perfect the skill. The more an individual practices an ability the strongly it gets programed. With practice, gradually the number of errors decrease and performance improve greatly. Also the time taken to successfully complete the work reduces with more practice.As the candidate keeps on practicing he begins to perform effortlessly, provided he keeps a close attention and maintains focus to all the sensory inputs around him.
- The last stage consists of the autonomous phase in which the acquired skill becomes automatic and instinctive.
This way acquisition of the proper skills required in a particular job position, enables an individual to successfully adapt to a new job post.