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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

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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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              Last Updated on March 30, 2020

              12 Reasons Why Rote Learning Isn’t Effective in Learning

              12 Reasons Why Rote Learning Isn’t Effective in Learning

              Rote learning is learning by memorizing rather than thinking and reasoning. While handy in some situations, rote learning isn’t the most effective way of learning.

              Most of us have been exposed to rote learning early in our life when we memorized the alphabet, numbers, times tables and formulae. This habit can unfortunately carry on till much later when we are so used to being given information and simply using it, we don’t think about the logic behind the information itself.

              In today’s world, there needs to be a conscious shift of processes so we reduce our dependency on memorizing and move towards learning based on understanding. While there are proponents of rote learning who present solid arguments in favor of the method, meaningful learning discourages it as it presents no opportunity to think and reason.

              Rote learning is acceptable for memorizing dates, names, numbers and other information that has no meaning but is still important. It is when this carries forward to learning that should be approached meaningfully that problems arise.

              Reasons rote learning is not the most effective way to learn for a number are many and varied and all are valid. However, when arguing the merits of rote learning over meaningful thinking, one needs to keep the following points against rote learning in mind:[1]

              1. Promote Convergent Thinking

              Rote learning trains a mind to solve problems with a single answer which is right, as opposed to meaningful thinking which allows the mind to reach different solutions.

              When presented with a simple multiplication problem, a rote learner will always jump to the answer by recall while a person using divergent thinking will arrive at the same answer through different methods.

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              2. Deny Exploring Different Options

              A teacher presenting information to students in a manner that doesn’t allow or encourage questioning and divergent thinking is encouraging rote learning.

              When learning by rote, learners are given the answer to a question and that’s the only answer they know.

              Unless the question is a mathematical one, there may be more than one answer which is correct, but the rote learner will never develop the ability to explore the options that lead to the different answer.

              3. Make People Passive Learners

              Rote learners never learn to question and explore. Their minds are trained to receive information and recall it at the right time.

              These people develop their listening and writing skills but not their thinking and questioning skills. Taken out of their comfort zone, passive learners will be quiet and disinterested in the proceedings around them.

              4. Make People Followers, Not Leaders

              Because rote learning is the drilling of specific information, people exposed to this system are used to following instructions without having the freedom to think for themselves and reach the same conclusion a different way or even a different solution altogether.

              When put in management positions, rote learners may not be able to display leadership skills which almost always require thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative solutions.

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              5. Not Allowing Connections to Form

              Since rote learning teaches just one answer, people who learn like this cannot make mental connections between the knowledge they already have, and reaching a solution to the problem they are working on.

              A lot of times, rote learners can reach the same conclusion through different means or make mental connections to reach a whole new answer that may still be correct. However, since they’re not exposed to the alternate methods, they fail to recognize the opportunity and think only of the solution they have been taught.

              Another way to phrase this could be “learning from experience.” A student who understands history will know why the world is the way it is and, based on past events can guess what will happen in the future. However, one who has only learned dates and events cannot do the same.

              6. It Is Short-Term

              Rote learning promotes short-term memory. Apart from certain exceptions like the times tables and period table values, most rote learning is for those who want the knowledge for a certain purpose.

              For example, a student might learn the Pythagoras Theorem for an exam but will almost immediately forget the instances in which the theorem might be used.

              7. Not Promoting Understanding

              Rote can be considered a “quick-fix” solution to gaining knowledge.

              It is the lazy person’s answer to teaching and learning. The teacher will inform the students of the answer to a particular problem without really explaining how the answer was reached or encouraging the students to find the answer for themselves.

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              The students, on the other hand, will accept the teacher’s version of the answer without questioning the method. And if presented the same question in a different manner, they will not be able to solve it even though they “know” the answer.

              The grasp a student has on the subject is limited to how detailed the answer is and in most cases, it is not very much.

              If a particular question might require solution from a different angle, the student will never be able to answer it because she has not been taught to.

              8. It Is Geared Towards Scoring

              Learning should be something that promotes understanding and bases knowledge gained on how problems are approached and solved.

              In the rote learning method, the emphasis is on getting a higher score. Exams are marked on a student’s answer to a question, not his understanding of it. This means a student may have aced a certain subject without having full understanding of it.

              9. It Is Repetitive

              Since rote learning is nothing but memorizing information, it relies heavily on repetition of said information.

              The learner needs to constantly reinforce a certain knowledge bite and this repetition stifles thought exploration and creativity when finding answers to a problem.

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              10. Not Challening the Brain

              Rote learning presents an answer to the learner and expects them to learn it and reproduce it as required; whereas meaningful thinking challenges the learner to “prove it.”

              In meaningful thinking, the burden of proving the answer lies firmly on the learners, and they need to come up with a plausible explanation for the conclusion they reached.

              On the other hand, in rote learning, there is nothing for the learner to prove. They have been provided the answer and know it’s right, so they are well within their comfort zone when presenting a solution.

              12. Discourage Social Skills

              Group studies, research and other factors that make up meaningful learning encourage socialization and learning from peers.

              Rote learning has the opposite effect because information has already been transferred by a single source, and it is the only one which is acceptable. This discourages discussions and further learning from social interactions.

              Bottom Line

              At the end, what I would like to clarify is that rote learning and meaningful learning are two sides of the same coin. They bridge the learning gap.

              There are some instances when rote learning is the only way to learn, whether it is because of nature of the topic taught or because it is the only way a student can learn.

              However, it is very important to recognize that rote learning is not the most effective way to learn most things. Meaningful learning, where the learner is taught to question, think and arrive at a solution from a different angle is how true learning takes place.

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              Featured photo credit: Siora Photography via unsplash.com

              Reference

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