Learning as Adults
Everyone learns differently. Some absorb information through hearing it, aural learners, some need to see things written down, visual learners, and most people need to practice, physically, what they want to learn. The old saying about tell someone and they will forget, show them and they will remember, let them do it and they will learn it, holds true. From this comes the idea that the more something is practiced the easier it becomes. Driving a car is a good example. While role playing can be a struggle for non actors it is actually a useful learning tool. The repetition becomes established in the brain.
The next layer of how people learn is that some individuals learn best by gaining small parts of the subject needed and gradually fitting them into the whole pattern which makes sense, like fitting a jigsaw puzzle together. Others find this baffling and can only make sense of a course when they can see the picture of the jigsaw laid out and see where the different options fit into the system. Most courses are delivered in the first style and those who prefer the second can flounder until they see the patterns and how they fit together. Here it is important not to loose courage but to keep going until the patterns emerge. It happens eventually.
Understand Your Learning Style
How people learn is an important part of understanding themselves. It is worth the time and trouble taken for the student to understand themselves because many individuals are unaware of how they deal with information, their thinking patterns and how they approach new ideas. A little bit of effort at the beginning makes it easier in the long run.
During a three or four year program of a course it is important not to think that after the first years courses are finished thats the end of that subject, especially if it is something that was neither easy or particularly interesting. It is important to understand that this is part of the course and it fits in with other parts for the overall qualification. The parts connect with each other to make a whole. Seeing how things connect is a valuable asset. This is part of the jigsaw concept of learning.
Learning how to learn, acquiring a body of knowledge, knowing where to find information are all part of the process. There are spin offs from the whole process of education which make the whole much greater than the parts. These insights only come later because at the start of any enterprise, the issue of what to do and how to do it are paramount. The insights emerge as the understanding of the subject matter begins to settle into a pattern.
Personality comes into learning. Some seem to acquire knowledge with little difficulty while others struggle to absorb what they need. Whether the student is one who finds the process easy or whether, like most people, they have to slog through the work it is the steadfastness which is of value. There is a personal satisfaction from the achievement of learning which an individual can cherish; because a system has to be devised on how best to take in the work. This is as much about ordering the mind and thinking system as about the process. From that organization there can be a benefit for daily life.
When the basics of learning a particular subject has been established and is comfortably useable, it becomes possible to build on that. Teachers, for instance, can use continuing education to broaden their scope and become certified in different areas. Having established themselves in one area and then working for further qualifications shows their interest in their work and their appreciation that the better educated they are, the better job they can do teaching. This build up of skills is a help to anyone’s career.
One of the necessary qualities for developing further education is curiosity. Humans are a curious species. The sheer pleasure of being able, to know how, to find out what you want to know is rewarding. Learning to use resource like libraries, the internet and the specialist materials for the subject chosen is a basic asset.