What Drives You to Learn

As an online adult learner, there are a few things that will set you apart from your younger, carefree counterparts. For starters, you may feel extremely anxious about going back to study and not know what to expect, studying online after so many years. You may also have some misgivings about the quality of online courses, seeing as though many online course providers in the past were not of the same standards as most are today. Because of this, it’s always a good idea to understand what drives and motivates an adult learner and what causes you to hesitate.

The Psychological Anatomy of an Adult Learner
As mentioned, adult learners are distinctly different from a child learner in their outlook on learning. Malcolm Knowles – an adult education pioneer – says that adults differ from children in the following ways:

An adult is an autonomous being who performs a number of ‘adult’ roles within society. These roles include – but are not limited to – citizen, spouse, parent or employee and as such, he or she is aware of their rights and duties.

An adult is an autonomous being who believes and understands that they are responsible for their actions, the results of those actions (what happens to them) and he or she wants to be in charge of their life.

So, What Drives an Adult Learner?
The first thing that usually demotivates a potential adult learner is lack of time in their schedule, so if this barrier can be overcome, the only thing left is determining what will motivate you to start and continue a course. A course should be:

Relevant to your job – You need to determine why you need to do a course. You may be undertaking a course just for the fun of it, and if this is so, you’re likely to be highly motivated anyway (because you’ll be learning about something you really love), so this doesn’t apply to you. For everyone else, you’ll need to consider how your chosen course fits into your current or future job. If you have an occupational goal, ensure your chosen course meets the prerequisites for this goal. Also consider how your course will fit into your working life.

To ensure job relevance, set clearly defined goals and choose a course that’s short, useful and relevant. You need a course that offers real-world applicable and transferable knowledge or skills.

Aligned to your life goals – Similar to the above point, you need to ensure your course is something that will promote future growth, to stay motivated. If you have a long-term life goal, every course you do should take you one step closer to that ultimate goal, whether this is a particular career, a monetary target or an advancement of a hobby.

Keep reminding yourself of these goals and keep tabs on your advancement towards them, so you can see that your success with each course or step is progressing you towards the final outcome. Don’t forget to reward yourself along the way!

Delivered by a trusted course provider – Seeing as though you’re reading this on the Courses For Success site, finding a quality provider is not going to be an issue for you! If you don’t decide to choose from one of our accredited and widely recognized courses, just ensure that the provider you choose isn’t a dud, because there are plenty around. Look for a course provider who has a track record of excellence, is trusted by previous students and has accredited courses that are recognized throughout your country (which describes us perfectly, wink wink).

Fun and challenging – A good course provider knows you don’t want to just passively read text and be tested on that reading alone; instead, you want something that’s fun and makes you think, right? A course that keeps you engaged is based on exploration and is an immersive experience that helps you develop memories for what you’re learning. Furthermore, a course should be easy to access and not involve you having to buy a whole bunch of text books on top of the regular course expenses.

Rewarding – A motivating course is one that rewards you as you go along. Rewards may be in the form of recognition for completing sections of your course, or a reward at the end of completion (such as connecting you with industry leaders) that involves more than just a certificate. You may be rewarded from your course provider, your tutors or fellow students, so try to look for a course that offers good student support, encouragement and allows you to interact with other students.

Now that you know which factors are most likely to drive you towards successful completion of your course, you will hopefully have a better understanding of what to look for in a course and provider. Of course, the final determinant of success will always be on you, but the course you choose will definitely set the foundation, as there’s no doubt that choosing a bad course will lead to failure.

The CFS Team
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