Setting the Scene for Success in Adult Education

Adult education is so different from school. It’s also different from the college courses taken immediately after school when the demands of youth get in the way of working to our best ability.

The motivation of adult learners is strong because they have chosen to do the work after careful consideration and with maturity. Having other adults who are interested in the same subject is always stimulating. There’s someone to bounce ideas off and others to discuss aspects of the course with; someone to commiserate with when homework doesn’t go to plan. Because different people perceive and absorb different things, having others around to talk about the course can extend our own learning. Also fellow students have something in common in the interest of the course and can become friends. Adult education can open up more than a qualification. It can raise curiosity in other directions. The satisfaction of being able to say, I’ve done it, is enormous.

Many people are hampered in developing a career because they have fallen through the qualifications net; or for various reasons, have chosen options which do not give them what they need now. Sometimes we need time to understand the job we really want to do and to find out where our interests really lie. Sometimes it’s an opportunity which arises which we hadn’t considered before. This can cause a change of direction; but reasons for adult education stretch further than jobs. Sometimes the need to develop a deeper understanding in a subject which interests us carries us on.

The satisfaction of being able to say, I’ve done it, is enormous. If you can think in terms of the results and not let yourself be overwhelmed by what you fear, it is a big preparation step. Confidence can carry us a long way. If you’ve chosen to do adult education, there is no reason why you shouldn’t succeed. Being aware that you don’t do it all at once, but take it in stages, step by step and build up the information, helps to overcome the anxiety.

Some adults feel they have missed the boat and are too old to learn. More and more research is emerging that we have plenty of capacity to learn at any age and that life long learning is of benefit. Nowadays people who have retired do courses because they are interested in the subject and want the challenge.

Having got yourself into the frame of mind that further education is a positive thing, it’s worth considering how much time you are able to devote to the work and the physical space you need to keep your materials. Confer with the people you live with about the mental space you will need. Their support can be of considerable assistance.

Adult education is challenging, exciting, interesting and beneficial.