The quest for knowledge doesn’t stop after high school or even college. Many embark on the journey of adult learning to earn additional credentials, complete unfinished degrees, or simply advance in their careers.
If you’re considering returning to the classroom, whether physical or virtual, here are six strategies to thrive as an adult learner:
1. Embrace the Learning Mindset
Having a “growth” or “beginner’s” mindset means you keep an open mind about additional things you might learn.
By understanding that intelligence and skills can be developed, you’re more likely to succeed. Be open to learning and see challenges as opportunities to grow.
Creating a learning journal can help you reflect on your learning process and capture insights and questions you have along the way. It can help you solidify new knowledge and remind you of how far you’ve come.
2. Leverage Technology
Learning has changed quite a bit, thanks to technology. Don’t be intimidated by digital tools – embrace them! Use note-taking apps, online learning platforms, and project management tools for your benefit.
Take time to learn the technology you don’t understand and remind yourself that it will help you in the long run. Consider dedicating 15 minutes each day to explore one new digital tool or platform. In a week, you’ll know seven new tools to support your learning journey!
3. Establish a Study Routine
Consistency is the key to success. Implementing a routine that works for you can keep you on track and help you learn at the times that work best for you.
Decide which time of day is best for focused study, then reserve that time solely for your studies. Some people are early birds while others are night owls. Trust yourself to know what works best for you.
Try to stick to a ‘two-day rule’ where you never let two consecutive days pass without studying or engaging with your course material. This can keep you motivated and help build momentum.
4. Seek a Support System
While you may be the one enrolled in the course or pursuing a degree, those around you can make an impact.
Network with fellow students via discussions and study groups. You’ll get fresh perspectives that can enhance your understanding. You may even make some new friends!
You might also seek out a mentor in your field of study. The guidance and experience of a seasoned mentor can help you grasp difficult concepts or see them in action.
5. Prioritize Self-Care
Don’t forget to take care of yourself during your learning journey. Remember to take breaks, engage in physical activity, and ensure you get enough sleep. A well-rested mind is more receptive to learning.
Don’t shy away from taking breaks. You might try the ‘50/10’ rule where you take a 10-minute break for every 50 minutes of intensive study.
6. Celebrate Small Wins
Take time to acknowledge how far you’ve come. Celebrate the completion of a challenging assignment or understanding of a complex concept. It boosts motivation and morale.
There will be tough days, but keeping a positive attitude and focusing on accomplishments, no matter how small, can help you push through.
Being an adult learner is a brave and rewarding endeavor. Embrace the process, lean into the resources and strategies available, and always keep moving forward!