Returning to learning as an adult can be intimidating for employees, even the top-performing employees in their roles. It is critical that adult learners are supported by their employers as they build their knowledge to pursue career goals.
Learning and Development Managers can facilitate employee learning by providing materials that motivate and engage adult learners. However, the learner needs to intrinsically be motivated to learn and expand their own knowledge. The following are 12 tips that help adult learners to get the most out of their learning experience.
1. Choose the Right Learning Opportunity
As an adult, we are often short on time due to a high number of commitments that we have. Time is valuable, so it is essential that any learning we choose to participate in is beneficial. Look into the different learning options available to ensure you pick a program most valuable to your role. Peers, colleagues and Learning and Development Managers may be able to provide recommendations.
2. Prioritise Learning
Finding time to learn, on top of working and personal commitments, can be difficult for professionals. As such, it is critical to make learning a priority. Ensure you are fully engaged while completing course materials and make time to complete necessary tasks. That may involve making short-term adjustments to your daily routine to meet your long-term learning goals.
3. Take Learning Step by Step
It can be challenging to wrap your head around completing your long-term learning goals. Focus on completing manageable tasks in a reasonable time frame. It can be helpful to split learning into bite-sized chunks and allocate 15-20 minutes daily to growing knowledge. That can help to avoid becoming overwhelmed and disengaged.
4. Focus on Long-term Benefits, Not Short-term Obstacles
In many cases, you will have to sacrifice doing other things to focus on learning. For example, there may be a social function you will have to miss, or you may need to work extra time to compensate for the time spent learning. It is crucial to keep your long-term goals in mind and focus on the benefits of learning rather than the short-term inconveniences it may cause.
5. Believe in Yourself
Self-confidence is the feeling of trust in your abilities, qualities, and judgment. It is highly linked to happiness and success. When learning, those with self-belief are more likely to take risks, express their creativity in groups and assignments, and invest in their learning. As such, a self-confident person is more likely to be optimistic and motivated to complete their learning goals.
6. Know Your Learning Methods
Today, adult learners can choose from various teaching methods, from online programs to traditional face-to-face classes. Online programs are increasing in popularity due to the flexibility and opportunity for learners to collaborate in groups with their peers online. Before starting a program, it is best to work out which type of class and course delivery is the best fit for your lifestyle and the way you learn.
7. Don’t Let Technology get in the Way
Technology plays a major part of our personal and professional lives nowadays. It is important to ensure you use technology to your advantage when learning. Before starting an online course, make sure you are aware of the technical requirements to avoid frustration and wasting time when you could be learning. It may also help to have a contingency plan in place in case the Internet goes down, or your computer stops working.
8. Don't Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Adult learners need to be patient with their learning, and they may not pick things up as quickly as they did in their younger years. It is vital that learners feel comfortable asking questions when they need help. Asking questions can also be an ideal start to interacting with peers and instructors to enhance learning.
9. Apply Learnings in Real-Life Situations
Learning can be challenging. To internalise learning, it is best for adult learners to find ways to apply the concepts to real-life situations. Doing so not only helps provide relevance but also gives them a deeper understanding and appreciation of the learning.
10. Learn with Peers
Adults gain a lot of their knowledge through experiences. As they share that knowledge with others, they build upon their own too. In a collaborative environment, adults can also learn from each other by identifying, analysing, and discussing course materials and their own experiences in the workplace.
11. Set and Track Learning Goals
As an adult learner, it is important to keep a steady focus on goals to stay motivated. Always keep in mind the reasons for and rewards of learning to drive yourself to keep going. Breaking these goals into smaller, manageable goals can also help you prioritise your to-do list.
12. Be Flexible with Yourself
Remember that you might not always pick something up the first time. Ensure you give yourself time and flexibility to absorb learning material comfortably. If there is a topic you are especially keen on, you can also consider broadening your knowledge through other channels to get multiple perspectives and understanding.
Cahoot Learning transforms adult learning experiences by facilitating peer-to-peer collaboration that drives deep engagement, builds capability, and shifts mindsets.
An online learning community platform, we design learning programs and activities that enable learners to work collaboratively to achieve their learning goals. Our courses allow learners to solve real-world problems and arm them with the tools necessary to apply learning in their roles.