Smartphones have revolutionised the way we consume content, conduct business, keep in touch with friends and schedule our busy lives. The unprecedented utility offered by carrying around a pocket computer can also reach into many novel and diverse areas, thanks to the advent of smartphone apps. In the Google Play app store, for example, there are approximately 2.8 million apps available for users to download. Among the features these apps offer is the ability to educate us on many different topics and fields of daily life. Below we’re taking a look at some of the best skills that can be developed with the help of a smartphone. From fluent French to downward dogs, there's an app out there ready and waiting to guide you to expertise in any subject.
Often we are advised by health professionals that we should seek to minimise the amount of time we spend interacting with our smart devices, which is true. Yet there are certain use cases where our tech devices can empower us to lead healthier lives and become fitter. The sports and fitness industry is big business, and as such there are hundreds of compelling apps, programs and wearable fitness trackers out there promising to give you washboard abs and glowing skin. While it can be tricky to filter through this mass, there are certain creators and brands that have engendered widespread trust. One such example is yogi, actor and YouTuber Adrienne Mishler. Her channel, Yoga with Adriene, boasts over 11 million subscribers who tune in regularly to participate in Mishler’s steady stream of new classes and sizable back-catalogue of videos addressing a huge range of yoga related topics and methods. Those wanting more involvement can even sign up to the Yoga with Adriene community, which offers users daily classes and additional content.
Games are a great way to spend time with friends, though many of the best titles take some practice in order to become proficient in. Thankfully this is something your smartphone can assist you with. There are a wide range of platforms, websites, services and apps out there designed to help you train any number of games. Whether you want to improve your golf swing, figure out how to play poker or refine your chess strategy, the on-demand quality of smartphones means you can carry your tutorial or personal coach with you wherever you go. Becoming skilled in a game is a combination of factors, with practice and theoretical knowledge working together to engender continual improvement. For this reason, in addition to following tutorials it’s a good idea to explore the work of content creators on YouTube who are focused on your chosen game as they will be able to impart elements of their own experience and insight that will be invaluable in the long run, and help you overcome elusive skill plateaus over time.
In light of the unprecedented global circumstances of the past few years, many people took the opportunity to try and learn a new language. This led to a huge spike in the popularity of language learning apps, such as Duolingo and Memrise. These services are a fantastic and efficient way to pick up basic reading, writing and speaking skills in a huge range of languages. This is due to the way information is structured and presented in a “gamified” way. Gamification has become a major buzz word in the development sphere in recent years, and this is because it taps into human psychology to encourage learning. This is achieved by turning an otherwise laborious task, such as learning grammar, into a game, replete with levels, scores and incremental rewards. By experiencing a continuous stream of small successes, the reward centres in our brain are triggered, which in turn encourages us to continue our learning journey. And it works: a 2020 study found that Duolingo Spanish and French students could perform after 8 months at a level equivalent to 16 months of university grade language training.