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How Is Adult Learning Different?

Have you ever said to yourself; I am too old to learn that? or It is too late for me to do that. I hope this article will inspire you too stop thinking that way and start seeing possibilities.
I have been learning new things my whole life, it is a vital part of my being. If I don’t have a learning project I am working on I get restless, and start one right away. But as I get older the learning process has changed. Some things get harder while other things are easier, so today I am going to share my top 5 tips for adult learners.

Who is an adult learner

When I use the term adult learners I am talking about anyone that did not continue to college right after high school, someone that took a year or maybe even ten years away from intention learning, maybe started a family, got a fulltime job, and just went on with their life. The adult learner is usually from age 25 and up, me, I am 62.
when I talk about learning, I am talking about intentional learning, something you decide that you want to learn, it can be anything from going back to college to get a degree or taking a course in photography. Or even something you decide to learn all on your own.

What are some of the obstacles

The very first obstacle that comes to mind is TIME. As adult leaerners we have many obligations, maybe a fulltime job, your familr and friends, maybe you are a coach for your kids’ football team or a member of a book club. But there are ways to find time if you really are comitted to learn something.
Next on my obstacle list is SELF-DOUBT. Are you telling yourself you can’t do it? That it is too late? That you can’t spend that time, mon ey and focus on yourself? This is maybe the hardest obstacle to get around, but it is possible. You need to realise that you are worth the investment in yourself, that if you feel better by learning something it will benefit everybody in you life, and the more you focus on learning the less you will doubt yourself.
Then we have the question about NEUROPLASTICITY. This is the brain’s capapbility of building new neural network and making connections between what we learn to what we already know. Unfortunately, this plasticity gets weaker as we age, and this is one of the main reasons why it may take longer to learn something new as you get older, but there are also ways around this. Try to use many types of input for example, read, listen, watch, and do, this will give you brain more to work with and connect to what you already know. But I will return to neuroplasticity in a later article where I take a closer look at different adult learning theories, and adult learning styles.
The last ocstacle I will mention today is MONEY. Especially if you want to go back to college this can be an issue. Not just the fact that you may have to pay for your education, but maybe even more so to convince yourself that you can spend this money on yourself, especially if you have a family. But if you are not after a college degree there are many free courses online, both colle courses and other types.

What are the advantages?

As I stated there are advantages with being an adult learner as well, and here I will list some of them

  • You have a good sense of who you are and what you want to accomplish
  • You have plenty of experience to connect the new information too
  • You are clear of your purpose with learning, and with that somes a readiness to learn
  • You are driven by your internal motivation
  • Life has taught you that making a mistake is not the end of the world. Mistakes can be a very good teacher

My top 5 tips for adult learners

The very first one is set GOALS. To do so you can use the SMART method which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-based. This is just one of many methods and I have an article about setting goals for personal growth here if you want to learn more about goal setting. The goals I talk about in that article works just as well for learning goals.
Number 2 is TRY DIFFERENT METHODS. As your brains plasticity weakens we need many types of input to make the necessary connections, as well as more time to digest the new material. It is therefor impprtant to use as many input methods as possible on the same topic, read books, watch videos, listen to audiobooks and podcasts, and try to do what you are trying to learn.
Tip number 3 START SMALL, especially if you have been away from intentional learning for a long period of time. Start with a small project, maybe something just for fun, and ease yourself into the habit of learning.
Which leads me to tip number 4 LEARN SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY. To build a habit of learning it is impprtant to spend around 15-20 minutes each and every day of learning. At this stage it is not important what you learn, it can be to learn a new word in a foreign language each day, or maybe learn a new crocheing pattern, the important part is that you dedicate 15 minutes each day to learning.
And my 5th and last tip, NEVER GIVE UP. Take small steps, think of them as your way of learning how you learn best, and if something doesn’t work you have learned something from that anyways, you have learned what doesn’t work for you.

My big learning project at 60

I gave myself an unusal birtday present as I turned 60. I decided to learn how to film and edit videos, To do so I started my YouTube channel, and with that this blog to document what I was doing.
I must admit that my learning curve is way slower now adays, and I make many more mistakes, but I am learning a lot and have so much fun. And this project has brought me friends all over the worls, and an opportunity to share what is important to me, learning about learning, and inspiring people to keep on learning regardless of age. And I hope that this article, and today’s video which will be linked down below, will inspire you too keep on learning not matter what age you are.