You’re at a point in your life that you’ve decided to take a leap of faith and investigate new opportunities. Maybe you want to change your career path – maybe you want to dive deeper into what you’re already doing – maybe you just want to do something different – in any case, you’re going to be LEARNING something new!
Did you know that as an adult, your learning experience will be quite different than what you remember from college, high school, or even elementary school? With every passing year, you’ve gained life experiences that have given you a perspective and understanding of things that quite possibly are not what they used to be. This can make learning new things very interesting! You’ll bring your knowledge, experience, and yes, even opinions, with you as you embark on learning something new. Whether you enroll in continuing education classes, vocational education, special interest courses, or degree programs, you will likely go into it with a different mindset now that you’re an adult.
It’s Your Choice
Most people with more than a few years of life under their belt prefer problem-centered learning and prefer to manage their own educational experiences. That’s why choosing self-paced, online courses has become the method of choice for many. Adult learners prefer to be actively involved in the learning process, such that they are free to make choices relevant to their learning objective. They need the opportunity to work at their own pace, consuming as much or as little information in one sitting as they like.
A great way to do this is to approach the content through chunks of microlearning. Being able to consume smaller bits of information and then take some time to review, practice, or apply it in a practical way helps you retain the information for a longer period of time. This is a strategy that falls under the premise of well-known theorist Malcolm Knowles, that adults need to be free to direct themselves in the learning process, focusing on aspects of a lesson that they deem most practical and useful to them in their work. Microlearning content can help learners be better prepared to apply theoretical concepts to real-life situations, bringing the much-needed practicality to the educational experience.
Learning Should be Meaningful
Some of the advantages realized through learning at your own pace is that it is more conducive to active learning. This helps cultivate the notion that students are responsible for their own learning. The more the students are active in their learning, the more they’ll be engaged. The more engaged they are, the more meaningful the training, leading to greater retention. Having portions of the instructional content presented through shorter lessons, infographics, video segments, podcasts, audio clips, exercises, or some other activity has been proven effective in the classroom and through online learning. Another huge plus of individualized, self-directed learning is that instructional content that can be viewed more than once or at a student’s own pace.
When you can learn on your time, review as often as you’d like, and bring your life’s perspective to help understand the material, chances are, you’re going to find the learning much more meaningful and applicable to what you want to do.
If you are in the market to expand your horizons by choosing to learn something new, be encouraged by the fact that you have endless opportunities available that were created with you – the adult learner – in mind. We all have our own style of learning, so find something that speaks to you. New offerings are being added every day presenting information in ways that will appeal to you and that will prepare you to take that next step…whatever it may be!
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