There are many ways to learn as an adult. Here are 7 of them:
1. Online tutorials
YouTube has overtaken Google as the preferred way to learn new things, particularly among younger people. There’s a very good reason for that: it simply works. You can view online tutorials on a topic that you are interested in and complement those videos with articles and other material that you find on the Internet. While YouTube works best for some learners, it’s important to realise that not everyone learns the same way, and you’ll need to discover your own preferred way of learning.
2. Try new things
Extraordinary learners always seize the chance to try new experiences – everything from painting to dance or exercise classes. People change. Just because you tried something in the past without success doesn’t mean you won’t succeed now. Don’t be too quick to dismiss an opportunity based on your past experiences. The fact is you’ll never know unless you try.
3. Always have a book in hand (or in your bag)
If you have 10 minutes free while waiting for a train? Read a book. Need to unwind after a long day? Turn off that television and read instead. Reading is amazing for keeping your brain active and learning new things. It doesn’t matter how long it takes for you to finish a book, even one book every couple of months is better than none at all.
4. Join a group
Learning doesn’t have to be a solo endeavour. Join an organisation, club or mailing list that’s involved in an area you’re interested in. Participate in workshops or group learning events whenever you can. If nothing else, join a virtual book club or even a Facebook group to help make your learning a social (and fun!) experience.
5. Just do it
Starting a project is an excellent way of learning new skills, and sometimes there’s no better way to learn than through trial and error. It doesn’t matter how long you take or how bad you think your efforts are. After all, there’s no ticking clock and you’re not being judged on it. Want to paint? Buy or borrow a canvas, some brushes and some paints, and start painting. Want to learn how to build a website? Start a blog. Even if you spend just 30 minutes every other day on it, that’s 30 minutes that you’ve invested in learning something new.
6. Pick up another language
In a multicultural society such as ours, the opportunities to learn another language are plenty. The benefits of learning a second language are well documented. You can learn a new language by downloading an app, working your way through online tutorials or just making friends with someone who speaks that language and practising with them. Language learning is something that is best done with other people, so do it with a friend or with your family to make it twice as fun.
7. Make it part of your routine
Make learning a part of your everyday routine by incorporating habits that encourage it. Set aside a fixed time and place for your chosen activity. It might be 15 minutes every morning or evening to read a chapter of a book or to complete an online course. Everyone is different so find out what works for you. New habits take time to form – how long will depend on the nature of the habit – so be patient with yourself.
To find out what courses are on offer in your local area, and how you can get back into learning, contact a Learn Local organisation. You can find your local one at www.learnlocal.org.au/find-a-learnlocal