During our work, we are constantly learning new things: mastering new programs, tools, languages, making mistakes, going to workshops and improving our qualifications. To enter the profession, we also studied a lot — first at school, then at a university or college, and then on our own. Why is it that at a younger age learning does not seem to be a difficult task, but when we already know a lot of things, it’s difficult to learn?
How We Learn to Learn
Learning is also a skill. Just like interviewing or writing code or solving quadratic equations. And without practice, that skill gets rusty. Once upon a time you solved those very equations with ease, but now it takes you a while to remember what it was about, what the discriminant was, what its formula was, and so on. And while you are just stressing out, the average eighth grader has already solved this equation. For students, learning is a habitual activity, something they do all the time and don’t need time to engage.
What Do Adults Win at?
Motivation is an important point here. And this is where the adult wins over the student. A student usually doesn’t have to pay a mortgage, support a family, think about what their spouse, children or at least a cat will eat. What’s more, adults will have many more distractions. The list includes not only daily duties but also some fun activities, like a Legacy of Dead demo game or a new episode of a favorite TV show.
Students, in case of emergency, will just come to their parents, but such a trick may not work for adults, especially when they are over 30. That’s why an adult’s study period is usually regulated by something, they have a deadline, they won’t stretch the process to infinity.
Another advantage adults have is life experience. For example, your training is for a job change. You’ve already tried something, and even if you haven’t articulated what you want from your new job, you almost certainly know exactly what you don’t want. Most likely, this is not your first job, and you are choosing consciously to somehow improve your situation or at least find more interesting tasks. Although all possible coaches and psychologists say that motivation with the particle “not” doesn’t work and you need to formulate everything positively, some experts believe that in the case of conclusions drawn from personal experience, this is a good option. “Don’t get up at 6 am”, “Don’t handle incoming calls”, “Don’t do cold sales”, “Don’t make money by cheating”, “Don’t work in a team that doesn’t share my interests” are good motivations.
How Can Adults Help Themselves?
One thing is when adults set out to educate themselves on a topic that he is really interested in. For example, a person is passionate about comic books and in spare time this individual goes to study their history. This kind of learning falls into the realm of interest. It goes easily because you are already in the topic because you discover new things and enjoy it as in childhood. The speaker is interesting to you because this expert says understandable things in your infofield. You apply the knowledge immediately because you write about the lectures to your friends or share reports on social networks.
It’s harder when the learning doesn’t lie in your field of interest. It’s even harder when what you’re learning is from a field you’ve never been exposed to before. To learn successfully, you need to prepare to help yourself.