At a time when many people are starting some form of study we thought it would be useful to share our top tips for adult learners. We will do one for younger learners in the near future.
When you follow these tips your learning experience will be deeper and more joyful! Enjoy!
1. Manage your learning: You probably have a good awareness of your strengths and weaknesses in the classroom therefore can take more responsibility for how you learn, for example, if you know you do not find the visual exercises the teacher sets useful, plan and make your own exercises that help you learn in the way you learn best. Go above and beyond and ensure you pursue the subject as much as possible: ask questions, read beyond the syllabus etc.
2. Challenge yourself: Never shy away from something if it initially looks difficult. Teachers and department heads are all there to support and help you if you feel you are truly struggling. It is important to stay realistic, and ensure you challenge yourself but not so much that your stress is affecting your mental health.
3. Attend class prepared and take good notes: Try your best not to miss any classes or get behind on assignments. In this way it is good to start an assignment the day you get it to prevent it being done last minute. If you get too far behind, it becomes difficult to catch up and using someone else’s notes are not usually good enough: the brain retains more information when you physically make your own notes. Try and prepare before any lectures etc, by reading any assigned chapters and researching the topic. Afterwards, review anything you didn’t understand, editing and rereading your notes after every lecture.
4. Meet other students: Even if you are a few years older, ensure you talk to your classmates and socialize. Getting together with friends to discuss lessons, share notes and test each other can cement ideas and concepts into your memory while also creating a feeling of community to lower anxiety.
5. Make time to study: You may find other commitments in your life get in the way of you studying therefore it is crucial for you to put aside time everyday for study only. As an adult, your course will require a good amount of independent learning hours to be put in therefore it is up to you to create a schedule and keep to it, to ensure you get in the hours needed everyday. Give yourself a little room for movement though, to accommodate for unexpected events such as illness.
6. Stay organized: School and any other commitments (e.g. a family, a job) can be hard to balance. It is important to remain organized in regards to yourself, your environment and your habits in order to maintain a healthy state of mind and therefore allow you to prioritize tasks accordingly and switch between them if necessary. You could try to integrate activities for example, taking your children to their swimming class while you complete some work on the side. Make lists using apps such as Evernote to allow you to plan out your day and have direction, as well as maintain your budget etc.
7. Take care of yourself: In all the stress and hustle of studying and balancing priorities, it is hard to remember to look after yourself. It is important to make your well-being a priority: eat healthily, exercise often and sleep for enough hours. After all, it is your body that is doing the work, therefore, it needs to be looked after! Similarly, every now and then, ensure you have something fun or calming planned for yourself or with others, for example, going out to eat at a restaurant or visiting the city. This will help prevent your stress levels getting too high and keep you healthy mentally as well as physically.
What are your best tips for adult learning? Please share below and we will add some new ones to this article if they are not already covered.