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Last Updated on August 8, 2019

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

    mobile-1125445_1280

      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 January 14, 2020

              15 Effortless Memorization Tricks To Remember Anything

              15 Effortless Memorization Tricks To Remember Anything

              The struggle is real!

              With so much happening in life, it’s hard to remember the details. In particular, names, due dates, requirements and locations slip from the mind every so often. But the memorization tricks outlined in this article should ensure that you never forget stuff that matters.

              I used to have a problem with remembering names and faces.

              You see, I meet new people every day from around the globe and it’s just too many new names and faces for my mind to register.

              But I’ll tell you this:

              It’s certainly quite embarrassing to have coffee with somebody and not recognize them the next day.

              The problem is that forgetting is such a passive action that you often have no control over it.

              Let me explain:

              When you forget something, it’s not like you’re actively trying to. It just… happens and that makes it hard to inhibit your forgetfulness.

              I mean, how do you stop doing something that you’re not really doing?

              So, I just accepted that this is how it is and I’m going to have to live with it.

              But several embarrassing encounters later, I’ve consolidated a list of memorizing tips that worked like magic for me.

              I’ve used them to overcome my problem of remembering people and their names which has helped me immensely in improving communication and collaboration within and outside of my company.

              Now before we dive into the memorization tricks that I wanted to discuss with you, let’s first take a look at how and why we forget.

              The Science of Forgetting

              In 1885, Hermann Ebbinghaus put forth his theory that outlined the “Forgetting Curve”.[1] This curve shows how much information we retain after a certain amount of time has passed since initially memorizing it.

              You might be a bit concerned about how valid this theory is, given that it was initially presented in the 19th century.

              But in a 2015 analysis, scientists found that the Ebbinghaus’ Forgetting Curve was completely accurate.[2]

              Fascinatingly, the Forgetting Curve shows that just after a day of memorizing something, we remember about 30% of it.

              Before we jump into the memorization tricks in this article, I’d first like to explain to you why you forget in the first place. Knowing the root cause of forgetfulness will help you apply the information that you gather.

              When you initially learn something, your mind transfers it into the hypothetical short-term memory chamber.

              Your brain doesn’t know which piece of information is important and which needs to be discarded. So, it waits for a signal that helps it recognize important pieces of information that it can then shift into the hypothetical long-term memory chamber.

              One of the more obvious of such signals is repetition. As shown in the forgetting figure below, repetition can change the shape of the forgetting curve.

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                All the memorization tricks and tips in this article revolve around signaling the importance of memories to your mind so it can move that piece of information from the short-term memory chamber to the long-term one.

                15 Memorization Tricks That Work

                Enough of science; let’s get into the business end of this article. Here are 15 memorization tricks that work:

                1. Say it 3 Times

                This is one of the simplest learning methods that I’ve been using and it seems to yield some great results.

                Make a habit of saying something 3 times as soon as you hear it. This will help you retain that information longer in your brain. In my case, when someone would tell me their name, I’d say it thrice under my breath. This signaled to my brain that this piece of information is important and I’d like to remember it.

                2. Link it to an Established Long-Term Memory

                What if you already have something in your long-term memory that you can link your new piece of information to?

                Imagine this:

                There’s a piece of information that resides deep in your hypothetical long-term memory chamber. Once you claim a new memory, you stick it to the old one.

                What do you think will happen?

                Of course, the new memory will retain better because of the strong memory that you linked it to.

                For instance, people set their 4-digit pin codes for their birthdates (or their spouse’s) all the time. It’s easier to remember because they have an already established link in their mind that’s probably never going to break.

                3. Type Away

                Writing something down is a common memorizing trick that works for many.

                The problem?

                You almost never have a pen and paper close at hand when you need it.

                So here, I decided to go a bit unconventional and use technology to my advantage.

                I started typing notes on my phone that I’d revisit before sleeping.

                A lot of times, I wouldn’t even have to revisit my notes because the mere act of typing them would help me retain that memory.

                But if typing it out doesn’t help, rereading it at night surely will.

                4. Spaced Repetition

                As mentioned above, further research on the Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve showed that it’s best to revise a piece of information after a certain amount of time as it helps your mind retain it better.

                Now, what a lot of people do is that they try to repeat or revise a memory as soon as they attain it.

                But research shows that it’s useless to adopt that strategy. The goal isn’t to avoid forgetting that memory; it’s to forget it so you can relearn and solidify its roots in your brain.

                The same research suggested 4 repetitions; around 20 mins, 50 mins, 9 hours and 5 days after memorizing something.[3]

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                But it might not be practical to revisit a memory in that fashion. So, as we recommend in our article on Spaced Repetition, just revise an important memory 24-36 hours after initially learning it and you should see 90% above retention rates.

                5. Grasp the Concept

                Back in college, rote learning never seemed to work for me.

                No matter how many times I’d repeat a phrase and try to learn it by heart, I’d have completely forgotten it by the next day.

                So I tried to memorize the concept, not the words.

                This worked great for me back then and still works well when I’m trying to understand the mechanics of a company or a business.

                6. Interleaved Practice

                If you mix it up, you’ll see better results in memorization.

                Most people, when they’re trying to memorize or learn something, keep working at it until it’s all done or perfect.

                It doesn’t make much sense if you leave a memorization task in the middle right? Wrong!

                Research shows that if you learn two different things at once, you’ll learn them better. This is called interleaved practice.

                Now that are 2 reasons why interleaved practice shows spectacular resuLts:

                Similar memories get mixed up in the brain

                Interleaved practice makes it harder to recall a memory. And the harder the practice session, the better your results!

                7. Use Storytelling

                Without a doubt, storytelling is one of the most powerful skills that one can master.

                And the reason is simple:

                Stories captivate us like nothing else.

                Look at all the forms of entertainment that we have nowadays and you’ll see storytelling in each one of them; movies, songs, music videos, video games, vlogs… the list goes on.

                The reason is simple:

                Our brain is obsessed with stories.

                So the next time you’re trying to memorize something, try creating a story in your head that would help you remember it.

                8. Record Your Audio

                Here’s another fantastic memorizing trick that puts technology to great use.

                When you’re trying to memorize something, just audio record yourself on the phone and listen to it on repeat.

                You don’t need to do this for long. In fact, about 15-20 minutes of listening to yourself should be more than enough.

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                This is especially useful for auditory learners.

                9. Create Parts

                What if I tell you to memorize this number in 20 seconds:

                583957304

                I’m sure that sounds like a daunting task.

                But what about:

                583-957-304

                This looks easier although both numbers are essentially the same.

                The only difference in both numbers is that the second one has two dashes. Now, the dashes themselves aren’t significant. What’s significant is the fact that the dashes break the number into 3 parts.

                When you break the number, it becomes easier to remember. Your brain can then focus on individual parts and consolidate them in the end.

                In fact, this memorization technique is pretty much a setup to trick your mind into thinking the task is easier than it actually is.

                So, the next time you’re learning something extensive, create parts out of it and focus on each part individually.

                10. Focus on Keywords

                I like to use this method in conjunction with “Grasping the Concept”.

                You see, there are just some things that require word-for-word learning.

                And if you’re not good at it, then learning keywords becomes your last option.

                It’s likely that you’ve used this technique if you buy the groceries. All you do is memorize keywords like “6 eggs” but never “buy half a dozen eggs” because the rest of all the words contribute nothing (or very little) to the message.

                11. Say it out Aloud

                Here’s another learning trick for auditory learners:

                Say your words out aloud.

                I’m a firm believer that the more senses you stimulate while learning, the better you’ll learn.

                This means that reading alone (using your visual sense only) is not nearly as effective as speaking your words while you read them because it stimulates your sense of hearing as well.

                Ideally, you’d want to use this technique with writing or typing.

                12. Retain While You Sleep

                Did you know that sleeping could help improve your memory?

                Well, researchers from Matthew P. Walker and Robert Stickgold sure think so. In their research, “Sleep, Memory and Plasticity”, they maintain that sleep has a major role in “memory consolidation” and “memory reconsolidation”.[4].

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                Another research published in Current Opinion in Neurology shows that,[5]

                “Sleep is important for optimal learning.”

                By that logic, memorizing just before you go to sleep is a nice way of strengthening that memory. While you sleep, your brain should work on that memory’s consolidation and reconsolidation.

                Also, it’s important to get a good amount of sleep in for improving memory in general.

                13. Challenge Yourself

                Most people think that memorizing is all about reading and speaking.

                And that’s partly why they aren’t particularly good at it.

                Most of the time, we’re trying to memorize something all day but when the right time comes, our memory fails to support us.

                A good way to eliminate that problem is to test yourself in the middle of the day.

                Challenge yourself in the middle of the day to recall what you’re trying to learn. It doesn’t necessarily need to be in a learning environment. In fact, you could try recalling while you’re in the elevator, having lunch or walking to your office.

                14. Mnemonics

                Mnemonics have been for ages to learn a list of words in order.

                And the only reason why they’ve stood the test of time is that they work.

                In this method, you list out the first letter of each word and then try creating a sentence/phrase out of them that can be memorized.

                A common example is the “Roy G. Biv” mnemonic that’s used to memorize the colors of the rainbow (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet).

                Although recent research on effective learning techniques ranked mnemonics as a low utility learning method, the only reason for that was that mnemonics don’t have a wide variety of applications in general learning.[6]

                However, they work like magic if you’re trying to learn a foreign language or increase vocabulary.

                15. Use a To-Do List App

                The last memorizing trick on our list is to use a To-Do List app.

                A lot of these apps come with the added functionality of displaying your notes on the home screen of your phone.

                A lot of others come with a sticky notification of that note that appears 24/7 on your phone.

                By typing what you want to memorize in that note, you can then read it again every time you use your phone.

                And if you’re anything like the common man, this memorization trick should give you the opportunity to review your memory multiple times in the day.

                If you tend to forget easily, start trying these memorizing tricks. They’ve changed my life and will change yours too!

                More to Boost Your Memory

                Featured photo credit: Sincerely Media via unsplash.com

                Reference

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