Why is it hard for adults to learn and how to motivate themselves

Why is it hard for adults to learn and how to motivate themselves

Around us, we only hear that now it is necessary to learn not only children, but also adults. Some skills are outdated, others have not had time to learn either in school or in high school. You sign up for an online course, you pay, two lectures are excellent — and then you fail.

We learn something throughout our lives. Both children and adults have to learn new difficult subjects. If in childhood we are often spurred by curiosity, then in adulthood the role of the student is not so easy. Problems with motivation are found even in those who are burning with their business.

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

Connie Malamed, a distance education specialist, talks about the characteristics of an adult student.

Autonomy. Adult students prefer to control the learning process on their own. They like to make choices while studying. Even adults who initially experience anxiety during self-study will learn to enjoy it-with sufficient support from the curator.

Experience and knowledge. The peculiarity of an adult student is that he already has some kind of knowledge, as well as a unique experience. All this is brought into the learning process and affects it.

Result-oriented. Adults, unlike children, are more likely to understand the specific goals of their training. They know why they need new skills and what benefits they will get from the knowledge.

Availability of responsibilities. Adult students, in addition to studying, have many household obligations — family, work and social. It is not always easy to allocate time for training in a daily routine.

The need in the community. Many of those who study independently prefer to do it in the company. You can discuss educational issues with like-minded people, including the difficulties of self-motivation.

How to use the features of your age in practice? It's easy. Choose flexible training formats that allow you to track your progress, allow you to communicate with like-minded people and do not drive you into a rigid framework.

How to motivate yourself to study

Psychologists divide motivation into external and internal. If you work harder because you were promised a bonus — this is an external motivation. If you enjoy the process of work or study, feel the need for self-realization — this is an internal motivation.

In the long run, internal motivation wins out. It is impossible to do the same thing for a long time — learn a new profession, learn a foreign language — if you study because of external incentives. But do not completely discount external motivation: sometimes you just need to learn a certain amount of information, even if you do not like the subject itself.

So, what are the ways to keep yourself motivated to study and work?

Set goals with a clear deadline

Being internally motivated does not mean that you should neglect any discipline and learn only by inspiration. Set deadlines for each of your goals, but remember: they must be realistic.

Use social pressure

"You can't live in society and be free of society." Other people have a powerful influence on us. Why not use it wisely? Sign up for face-to-face courses with live discussion of the material or join an online chat. When we know that there are like-minded people nearby, it is much easier to learn.

Focus on growth, not ability

Carol S. Dueck, a Professor at Stanford University and one of the world's leading experts in the field of motivation, came to an interesting conclusion in the course of research. People with fixed thinking (they believe that success is based on innate abilities) achieve less than people with flexible thinking, a growth mindset. The latter believe that their success is the result of perseverance, training and hard work. This means: praise yourself for your efforts and don't be afraid to make mistakes.

Get started

We used to think that motivation is the reason for our actions. But what if we treat it as an investigation? Very often, motivation is born in the process of activity. Agree with yourself: if after 30 minutes of study you do not want to continue, you have the full right to finish with it for today.

Turn learning into a game

Game elements make any study more enjoyable. Color circles, check boxes, and mark your progress in checklists and apps (for example, in 365done or Todoist). When you know that part of the way is already passed, it is much easier to move forward.

At any age, you can learn to enjoy learning. The main thing is to understand why you need this knowledge and what style of training is right for you. Use the advantages of your age-responsibility, independence, and experience - and develop your inner motivation to study.

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