Why It’s Difficult for Adults to Learn, and How to Get (and Stay) Motivated

All we hear around us is that now we have to study; not only children, but adults as well. Some skills are getting outdated, others have not had time to learn, either at school or at university. You sign up for an online course, you pay, two lectures are great – and then you fail. Read this article and find out why it is so difficult for us who have already grown up to get involved in training.

Throughout our life, we learn something. Both children and adults have to learn new complex subjects. While in childhood we are often curious, in adulthood the role of a pupil is not so easy. Motivation problems can be found even in those who burn with their own business.

Children perceive new information more effectively. This is due to the fact that in adulthood it is harder for the brain to create new neural connections. But there is good news: the very process of creating new neuronal connections does not stop even in deep old age. This means that it is possible to learn new things throughout life. The main thing is to use the advantages of your age correctly and increase your motivation level in time.

Connie Malamed, a specialist in distance education, talks about the features of an adult pupil.

Autonomy. Adult students prefer to control the learning process independently. They like to make a choice during the study. Even adults, who at first feel anxious during self-study, will learn to enjoy it – with sufficient support from a curator or this service.

Availability of experience and knowledge. The peculiarity of an adult pupil is that he already has some baggage of knowledge, as well as a unique experience. All this brings into the learning process and affects it.

Focus on the result. Adults, in contrast to children, are more likely to understand the specific goals of their learning. They know why they need new skills and what benefits they will get from knowledge.

Availability of responsibilities. Adult students, besides studying, have many everyday obligations – family, work and social. It is not always easy to allocate time for education in the daily routine.

The need for a community. Many of those who study independently prefer to do it in the company. It is possible to discuss with like-minded people the issues of study, including difficulties in self-motivation.

How to use in practice the features of your age? It is not difficult. Choose flexible learning formats that allow you to track your progress, allow you to communicate with like-minded people, and do not push you into rigid limits.

How to Motivate Yourself to Study

Psychologists divide the motivation into external and internal. If you work harder, because you were promised an award, it is external motivation. If you enjoy the process of work or study, if you feel the need for self-realization, – it’s internal motivation.

In the long run, the inner motivation is the one who wins. It is impossible to do the same thing for a long time – to learn a new profession, to learn a foreign language – if you learn because of external incentives. But you should not lose sight of external motivation: sometimes you just need to learn a certain amount of information, even if you do not like the subject itself.

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