Getting back into learning as an adult doesn’t have to be an uncomfortable experience. A lot of people have bad memories of school and have, unfortunately, finished school thinking that was the only way to learn. “Learning isn’t for me” should never be something you think because of past experiences. Learning is for everyone – all ages, abilities, gender, nationalities and interests.
We have years of experience with learning for all ages and we know it can often be a challenge for adult learners to get back into it – no matter how much they want to. Therefore we have used the experiences of everyone from our literacy tutors to the community services manager to bring you
10 tips for getting into adult learning
1. Find out what’s on offer and what is free
First thing’s first – find out what opportunities are available in your area. Remember that a lot of courses are available for free so you don’t have to spend a fortune to learn something new. ILA funding is sometimes available to cover costs of short courses. Find out more about ILA here.
2. Ask questions, research your options
Don’t be afraid to call or message to ask questions so you know more about the course you are interested in doing. There is a higher risk of dropping out if you don’t have enough information about the course and then find it wasn’t what you were expecting. You want your way back into learning to be a success so help yourself make sure it is.
3. Find a subject you’re interested in
It is always easier to get into something if you find it interesting. Don’t give yourself an extra challenge by choosing a subject you’re not really interested in.
4. Give yourself time to get started
Pick a short course to let yourself try it out and build your confidence with learning. If it’s an ongoing course try to commit yourself to six weeks to start. Don’t give up after two weeks if you are unsure – stay with it and don’t allow a fear of new information to stop you.
5. Adult learning is not like school!
Expect to be treated like an adult. You might have had some bad experiences in school but adult learning is nothing like it. Adult learning is very different and takes place in a completely different environment. You will be treated like an adult and an equal. You have just as much of a right to be in the class as anyone else there.
6. You are doing it for you
No one is going to make you come to class and ultimately, it is your decision to get involved with learning. However, everyone wants to do well and get something out of coming to class and you will soon find that your fellow learners will encourage you to keep going – help them by doing the same!
7. Be brave!
Picking up the phone to ask questions about the course and stepping through the door for the first time are always the hardest things. It is natural to feel a bit anxious and nervous – but be brave and do it. You’ll thank yourself for it.
8. Ask for homework and information
Don’t be afraid to ask for some homework or information to read about the subject between classes to keep it fresh in your head and stay motivated.
9. Enjoy it
Learning is about more than just learning – it is a social experience as well. You will meet new people and make new friends. Enjoy it!
10. Look for the next thing…
Before your first subject/class/course comes to an end start looking for other classes in your area. By now you will have realised you can do it. Maybe you want to try something in another subject, something more in depth or maybe even a qualification?