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.
“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
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!
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
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
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.
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
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)
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
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!