Times have changed. No longer can you expect to complete a single qualification at the start of your career and then assume that you are done with formal learning forever. Businesses are looking for people with current formal qualifications in the competitive job market. Continuing your education throughout your working life can also help you to get promotions.
However, it can be a bit daunting to step back into a classroom situation for the first time in 20 years. Knowing how you personally learn best will help you to choose the best style of course to continue your adult education. Training and teaching methods have also changed, and you may find that getting that qualification you have wanted for years is much easier than you thought it would be.
Adults learn differently to children and the traditional classroom style of learning with the teacher standing talking at the front while students tune out in the back row of the classroom is no more. Adult education is more likely to include e-learning, small group tutorials, discussion sessions, role plays, and interactive learning activities. This makes learning much more fun, and it is generally easier to retain the information.
Trainers and modern adult educators generally agree that there are three types of adult learners, and the best teachers will use a combination of all three types of training methods. However, if you know how you learn best, you can select a course that leans more towards that style of learning.
People who learn in a visual way will remember the information shown in pictures, rather than something that the teacher says verbally. If you prefer a visual style of learning, you may prefer a course that includes many video or film presentations.
If you prefer visual learning, you will remember someone's face but will forget the name, and you will remember a movie you saw, but forget what else you did that day. If you are travelling somewhere and need directions, you will be more likely to look at the map than to ask for verbal directions from somebody. You will remember landmarks, rather than street names, so giving directions to someone else is likely to include things like Turn left at the post office, or drawing a visual map.
Online learning courses often include video style presentations, and this could be ideal for visual learners. In a group training scenario, the visual learner will watch the PowerPoint presentation and will focus on the information on the screen, rather than what the training facilitator is actually saying.
Audio style learners do focus on what is being said, and will remember conversations, rather than what they see. Someone who learns well with audio style teaching will remember songs and will prefer having music playing than watching the television. If you lean towards audio style learning, you will prefer verbal directions to a map, and will be likely to tell someone who asks for directions where to go instead of drawing a map.
Audio style learners are likely to remember people's names and forget the face, or to remember what the person actually said. If you are an audio style learner, you will not only learn from listening, but will remember the questions you answer or the discussions held by the group, so actively participating in the group sessions will aid your learning.
If you are an audio learner, you will appreciate a training course that includes open discussion groups. A course based solely on online individual learning is likely to be less effective for an audio learner than a course with a face to face facilitator. If online learning is your only option with your current lifestyle, you may like to invest in a recorder and read the papers and information aloud. You can then play back the recordings as part of your study.
Kinaesthetic learners are people who learn by actually doing. Whether the course is online or face to face, kinaesthetic learners will need plenty of activities and practical exercises to complete to learn effectively. Participating in role plays, interactive activities, games, and actually doing the task will help a kinaesthetic style learner in adult education, so if you learn in this way ensure your chosen course includes a large proportion of practical exercises.
If you are a kinaesthetic learner, you are likely to tap your fingers on the steering wheel when driving with music playing. You will remember what you do, rather than what someone says to you. When you give directions, you will be more likely to gesture with your hands to try to explain where you go. You may even find it easier to walk with the person needing directions than to try to explain where to go.
Adult continuing education is a fact in today's business world. Updating your qualifications can be the key to your success in the future. When considering what sort of training course you will undertake, think about what style of learning suits you best and look for a course and a trainer that will fulfil your training needs effectively.