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How to Make Learning Fun for Adults

How to Make Learning Fun for Adults

The advantages of continuing education as an adult learner are numerous. By learning and perfecting new skills, you could advance your career, secure a new job, or even pursue your ambitions in a new field.

But as adults, our motivation to continue education wanes. Not to mention, we have far more on our minds now than we did as children, teenagers, and students. Those simple rewards of the past are no longer relevant, and the mere thought of returning to academic practices of the past is soul-sucking.

So first, let’s address the common difficulties and misconceptions often held by potential adult learners.

“I’m too old; it’s too late for me to learn something new”

As human beings, our true education is lifelong. Your brain will never switch off or refuses to take in new information. The only limit is your curiosity and willpower. You certainly can teach an old dog new tricks, especially with a fun approach.

“I finished formal education, and I have no desire to return!”

With strict, formal education out of the way, why not choose to learn about something that interests you? Being forced to learn is not effective, but now you have the freedom to choose. You will be surprised how fast you will learn when the subject interests you, or will create a better future.

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“I’m already working full-time; continuing to learn at home feels like just another work shift!”

Try changing your perception. Learning is an investment into your future, whether for financial security, career progression, or pursuit of your true desires. Make learning fun and purposeful, and you will enjoy it.

“The conventional methods brought me great results in the past; how can a fun learning approach be as effective?”

By making learning fun you will manipulate the brain’s reward center to work in your favor. Not only will it fuel your motivation, but your brain will absorb information like a sponge!

How to Make Learning Fun for Adults: Six Methods

For us adult learners, the conventional methods of learning soon feels dull and arduous. Yet, making things fun never ceases to boost our motivation. Loosen up your approach to learning with these six methods, you’ll be amazed how much you can learn while having fun!

1. Inject a Tickle of Humor

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    Even if you are severely lacking motivation, lessons fused with laughter can be highly effective. Not only are they entertaining, but humor has actually been seen to boost retention significantly!

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    By sandwiching humor between instruction and repetition, you can learn incredibly fast while still having a laugh. Just make sure you the humor matches your own taste or age group.

    Even more complicated subjects, such as programming, can be mixed up with humor. In this case, you could try using your lessons to create comedic gif animations.

    2. Utilize Smart Devices and Applications

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      Flashcards are a thing of the past, and applications are their modern replacement. For most of us, our smartphones, tablets, or computers are with us at all times. With thousands of applications and software, covering a wide variety of subjects, we can easily make learning both fun and convenient.

      For instance, if you are interested in learning languages, Duolingo offers a fun learning platform with challenges to keep you motivated. Whenever you have a bored moment, don’t waste it browsing social media. Hone your new skills using your favorite interactive applications.

      3. Embark on Field Trips and Educational Travel

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        Travel leads to exciting experiences, personal growth, and inspiration, just to name a few. Exploring in new environments produces a rush of sensory stimuli. As our awareness rises, we absorb new information more rapidly as a matter of survival. As a result, these experiences and lessons learned stick with us forever.

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        Break out of the conventional learning conditions, the same office, room, or school. Going for a field trip or travelling to a new place will supercharge your progress.

        If you are learning a new language, visiting a native country would be the ultimate way learn the language and a fantastic experience. In other cases, you could consider travelling to attend a seminar, a training course or meet with a new mentor.

        4. Challenge Yourself Using Games

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          Games are not only for kids. Even as adults, our competitive spirit and gaming addiction still burns just as bright. There are countless educational games that will challenge and reward you. You will be surprised how quickly you will learn while having fun.

          Whether you’re interested in learning to code, or defeating calculus once and for all, there are games out there that will get you hooked and learning in no time!

          The majority of educational games may not be directly marketed at adults, but don’t let that deter you!

          5. Find Supportive Communities (Local/Online)

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            There are literally thousands of groups around the world, where individuals come together over common interests or goals. These informal communities are a hive of shared knowledge and experience, motivating, and teaching others in the most natural way possible.

            If you can find the right community, you will receive a powerful sense motivation and a wealth of knowledge. There is a great social buzz as ideas are shared freely and collaborations blossom as everyone helps each other.

            If you can’t find any local meetings to suit your chosen study, look for an online community on forums or social media. Whether you’re trying to learn a new language or how to become a freelance designer, you can be sure there’s a community that caters!

            6. Free Yourself to Explore

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              Focusing too heavily on stringent learning approaches is going to burn you out and down your motivation eventually. Instead, why not let the winds of exploration help you take flight.

              Let your curiosity guide you across a variety of different resources such as videos, documentaries or even podcasts. By freeing yourself to explore intuitively, knowledge will be accumulated in a more natural and meaningful way.

              Let’s say you were trying to learn Spanish. Instead of burying your head in textbooks, you could break up your sessions with other interesting resources such as YouTube videos, blog articles, radio shows, etc.

              Now that we’ve shown you how to make learning fun for adults, go out there and learn something new!

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              Published on March 29, 2021

              How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet)

              How To Apply the Stages Of Learning (With Free Worksheet)

              Are you keen to learn new things but find it hard to do so?

              Perhaps you lack the confidence to begin learning something new or you’re unsure how to improve your existing skills.

              Let me state this upfront: Most people find it difficult to learn, so you shouldn’t feel bad if you’re one of these people.

              And the good news is, in the next few minutes I’ll introduce you to the stages of learning. This knowledge will help you break through your learning challenges and turn you into a super-learner.

              Let’s dive straight in…

              What Are the Stages Of Learning?

              There are 3 stages of learning in total, and each stage can be broken down as follows:

              Stage 1: Cognitive Learning

              In this first stage, known as cognitive learning, the learner observes and listens and makes connections based on knowledge they’ve already gained, either consciously or subconsciously.

              Cognitive learning engages students in the learning process, getting them to use their brain to make new connections from knowledge already stored in their mind. This helps them develop problem-solving skills and improve comprehension.

              Knowledge in this stage can be acquired through any of the following methods:

              Implicit Learning

              This takes place when the learner is unaware of the fact that they’re actually learning. It’s devoid of specific instructions, but instead, relies on visual and verbal cues — which usually take place in a social setting.

              To give you an example of this, think of a child learning to speak. Typically, they learn the building blocks of their language (or languages) in a social setting without being formally taught by a teacher.

              This organic form of learning leads to knowledge that is successfully retained over many years, regardless of any psychological changes the learner experiences.

              Implicit learning is effective for skill reproduction and is also independent of IQ and age.

              Explicit Learning

              This takes place when a person actively seeks out opportunities to learn. Although — like implicit learning — this relies on visual and verbal cues, it doesn’t have to involve a teacher.

              Take riding a bike for example.

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              Someone wanting to acquire this skill might attempt to learn on their own by mimicking the actions of existing riders. These are visual cues. However, they may also ask someone for guidance on getting started. These are verbal cues.

              Explicit learning is a great way to train the brain to learn new concepts and to solve problems.

              Collaborative Learning

              This type of learning is most commonly used in educational institutes. It involves collaboration between the tutor, the learner, and other students.

              I’m sure you’re familiar with the process:

              The tutor imparts knowledge and helps the learners to make sense of it. This usually involves the learners being asked to discuss the newly acquired information and to connect it to knowledge they’ve already gained.

              Collaborative learning improves learners’ creative thinking, verbal communication and leadership skills. It also helps boost learners’ self-esteem, as well as exposing them to different points of view.

              Cooperative Learning

              In cooperative learning, students have to interact with each other and the tutor.

              The structure is such that learners must follow their tutor’s instructions. The tutor will then observe and assess the learners to make sure they are learning the aim for skills and knowledge.

              This style of learning works best when practical knowledge is being shared. For example, sports fields and music rooms are both excellent cooperative learning settings, as they allow tutors to give hands-on demonstrations as well as being able to watch their students try out their new skills.

              Cooperative learning helps students increase their retention power, build relationships and boost their self-confidence. In addition, it offers opportunities for social support and helps improve attitude and tolerance towards authority and those who are seen as different to others.

              Observational Learning

              This style of learning involves the acquisition of knowledge through observation and imitation of others.

              Many people are drawn towards this style. That’s because it makes learning an enjoyable activity, encourages social interactions and enhances memory.

              Want to learn more about observational learning? Then check out our article: How to Use Observational Learning to Learn Effectively

              Meaningful Learning

              This type of learning is the opposite of rote learning. It occurs when a concept has been understood fully and is being applied in practice.

              For instance, think of a chemistry student who learns from his tutor that mixing certain chemicals can result in an explosive reaction. Once the student knows this, it will prevent them from mixing those chemicals in the lab.

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              Meaningful learning requires the linking of new information to previously acquired knowledge. It is constructive and encourages learning through different techniques.

              Stage 2: Associative Learning

              This style of learning is where the brain is conditioned to learn or modify responses — taking into consideration stimuli offered. It occurs when old and new information is linked to each other, with ideas and experience reinforcing each other.

              Associative learning emphasizes acquiring knowledge from the environment and reinforces optimal behavior.

              Let’s look now at the different forms of conditioning of associative learning:

              Classical Conditioning

              Classical conditioning is where the brain is trained to associate a certain desired consequence to an action.

              For example, at work, it could be a cash bonus if an employee meets their targets. In the home, it could be extra screen time for kids if they finish their homework.

              Classical conditioning can help to modify undesirable characteristics in the learner and can also be used to help overcome phobias.

              Operant Conditioning

              This type of conditioning follows the idea that certain actions will result when there is a punishment or reward at the end.

              Just think of how school usually operates…

              We’re rewarded with a certificate and qualification when we pass a course; but if we turn up late for lessons we may well be punished by being sent to detention!

              If this concept sparks your interest, then be sure to read our article: Positive Motivation vs Negative Motivation: Which One Is Better?

              Extinctive Conditioning

              This is when the brain is trained to not expect a previously expected response when certain conditions aren’t met.

              A rock band dropping a song from their live set due to it failing to enthuse their audience is a good example of this style of conditioning.

              Extinctive conditioning can also be used to modify existing behavior that may be undesirable.

              Discriminative Conditioning

              This is where the brain is trained to reliably expect a certain outcome to a stimulus.

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              A simple example of this would be training a dog to remain still at the command “wait”.

              Moving on from associative learning, we come to the third and final stage of learning — the stage that gives a learner the most freedom.

              Stage 3: Autonomous Learning

              This is the stage of learning where learners gain knowledge through independent efforts and develop an ability to inquire and evaluate away from the influence of tutors and peers.

              Learners at this final stage have enough knowledge and power to control their learning.

              Typically, they look for sources that will help them make decisions based on their own understanding of the matter. In addition, learners at this stage take responsibility for setting their own targets and goals.

              Autonomous learning causes learners to learn through their own will and passion. These learners have the freedom to create their own learning plan and strategies to achieve their aims. They’re also aware of their learning style and can self-evaluate.

              Why Should You Care?

              When you understand and apply the stages of learning you can expect to see many benefits, including:

              • Improving your memory
              • Boosting your confidence
              • Speeding up your learning time

              It goes without saying that you’ll also be able to expand your knowledge and outlook, as well as being able to teach others, if that’s what you’re drawn to do.

              So, if you’re ready to learn how to apply the stages of learning — then let’s jump in!

              3 Steps to Applying the Stages Of Learning (Free Worksheet)

              You don’t need to be super smart to become a fast learner. It’s actually a skill that anyone can learn. You just need to understand and apply the different stages of learning. Once you understand this process, you’ll be able to learn want you want — within the time you want.

              Before I show you how to apply the 3 stages of learning, I recommend you download our free learning worksheet – you can grab it here: Learn Faster With the Stages of Learning (Worksheet) as I’m going to walk through the guide with you:

              Step 1: Name the ONE skill/knowledge that you’re taking up

              Think for a moment about the ONE skill/knowledge that you’re trying to take up.

              Once you know what it is, jot it down.

              As an example to help get you started, let’s pretend that you want to learn how to drive.

              Step 2: Break it down into sub-skills

              When you’re trying to take up a new skill or knowledge, there’s definitely more than one thing that you’ll need to learn.

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              Continuing the driving example, you’ll need to learn and understand the rules of the road and the practicalities of driving. These will include starting and stopping a car, clutch control, gear changes, braking and reversing — to name but a few.

              And of course you’ll need to reach a certain level of driving proficiency to enable you to pass your country’s driving test.

              So…

              Please spend a few moments thinking about the sub-skills of what you want to learn, and then jot them down.

              Step 3: Assess your personal inventory

              In this final step, you should look inward and assess your own abilities.

              This is essential to help you understand your current skills, and to see what you lack and what you can strengthen. You can also use this step to throw out limiting thoughts such as constantly comparing yourself to others.

              Coming back to the driving example, you might spend some time assessing your current knowledge of road safety (you may already be a cyclist who knows the rules of the road) and your confidence levels.

              To make this step easy and accurate, we’ve produced a free worksheet that will enable you to come up with concrete actions that you can take to bridge the gap between your current stage of learning and your target one.

              Download the worksheet now: Learn Faster With the Stages of Learning (Worksheet)

              Bottom Line

              Understanding and applying the stages of learning is sure to boost your confidence and speed up your learning. What previously took you months to learn; you’ll now find you can learn in just a few weeks.

              With your mastery of learning, a whole new world of knowledge and skills will be opened up to you.

              You’ll be able to learn a musical instrument or a new language. And if you’re already studying at college, you’ll be able to streamline your learning and get the possible grades.

              Life belongs to the learners, so take control of your life and your learning by downloading our free worksheet right now: Learn Faster With the Stages of Learning (Worksheet)

              Happy learning!

              Featured photo credit: Le Wagon via unsplash.com

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