Adult Learning Strategies That Could Work for You
Jul 29, 2011 Adults 1823 Views
As we are all aware, adults are different from children in many ways, including the way they learn. Necessarily, learning strategies for adults are very much different from learning strategies for children.
As an adult desiring to pursue higher learning, there are learning strategies that could work best for you. Understanding these adult learning strategies will undoubtedly ease your way back to school. As an adult learner, you tend to be self-directed and motivated to learn from within (internally/intrinsically) and have a wealth of experience you bring into the learning situation.
Here are some of these adult learning strategies:
1. Know your motivation and goals. Ask yourself what propels you go back to school and what your goals are in doing so. Writing these down and sticking them somewhere very visible will help you focus on these essential reasons. You may include here your time commitment to avoiding stress and over-scheduling yourself.
2. Choose subjects and courses that are most relevant to your job, profession or personal life. This will make your learning easier for then you know you will be applying new learning.
3. Self-assess and self-correct. Learn to evaluate your progress to modify your learning strategies. In this way, you find your own learning strategy and adjust accordingly. You can do this by conducting self-checks often, do practice exercises. Also, clearly defined goals will enable you to continuously self-assess your progress vis-a-vis these goals.
4. Reflect. This means visualize to see the bigger picture, compare and recall information and experiences. This can be done by looking at examples like case studies, simulations, hands-on experiences, that show ways to apply the content to make it relevant. It also requires you to create your own examples. Pose rhetorical questions to yourself and use building block analogy so you can see how pieces of content relate to each other as well as to the whole. Also, be sure you have access to your course materials after the course is over.
5. Use prior experiences extensively. Compare and contrast course content often with your own experiences. Although this may cause some confusion if the new information conflicts with what you already know or your past experience, comparing, contrasting and creating will enable you to grasp or handle the new information as to how it relates to or validates new information.
6. Discuss/converse with everybody the course content. Discussing or conversing about the subject with helps you review the matter, as you crystallize it in your mind and extend your understanding of it. At the same time, you gain confidence in the mastery of the content and learn by explaining it to others. Discussing the subject with somebody who may be quite knowledgeable about it gives you the importunity to break down the material into bits and pieces to make them more manageable and comprehensible.
Discussing it with experts or fellow learners provides an understanding of skill or knowledge gaps.
7. Use authentic experiences. This will allow you to apply what you have learned, modify your knowledge and skills accordingly and apply as necessary. Think of scenarios where you can apply your gained knowledge and skills, think of reflection questions for yourself.
8. Take an active role in planning, monitoring and evaluating your progress. This will enable you to know where you stand in terms of your expectations and needs.
9. Keep an open mind as to what your experiences would be. Discard your held notions on what your learning life would be.
10. Establish a good rapport with your instructors/professors in the classes you take. This is an adult learning strategy that will be of immense help to you because learning becomes more open and facilitative in such an environment. If you can communicate with your instructors or professors, you will not fear speaking your mind, you can suggest or negotiate projects, assignments and other school work load and come to an agreement.
13. Know your learning style. Knowing your learning style defines how you acquire and process information, how your brain works, or the parts of your brain work for every person has a very particular way of learning. Know how you have been learning best in the past as this will help you focus your energies in the most productive way. It will also alert you on areas you need assistance.
Lastly, simply enjoy your new endeavour and have a stress-free, enjoyable and productive learning.