Is Age Just a Number? 7 Secrets of Successful Adult Learners and Students

Is Age Just a Number? 7 Secrets of Successful Adult Learners and Students

Wouldn’t it be great to start a career doing what you are passionate about by studying a training course and gain new skills?

Sadly, many Australian adults today are scared of doing exactly that. They feel they are too old to study again and train for their dream job.

If the biggest thing keeping you from pursuing your passion is your age – then don’t worry!

Study methods and tools have evolved greatly over the past few years and it is now easier than ever to return to school or enrol in adult learning courses. Your age is no longer an excuse.

Self-paced and online adult courses are now widely available – and these new learning strategies are effective for adults who want to study again to succeed in their ideal career. You can too.

Study Tips for Adult  Learners and Students

Thousands of adults across the country graduate from online training and adult education courses everyday, armed with new skills and knowledge for their dream job.

Looking to upskill yourself and undertake training from your home, in your own time? Here are 7 study tips for adult learners that can help you do the same:


1. Successful adult students have a personal study workspace

Successful adult students have a personal study workspace

You are no longer confined to studying motionless on a tiny desk under the strict gaze of a teacher when you study a training course.

Good study habits start with creating your own study space where you can easily dig into your books, answer exercises, and be motivated to put in work. Each person is different so what’s important is to make sure your workspace is functional for you. Here’s a study tip on how to set up your workplace and be more productive:

Adults who study better when they are away from distractions may have workplaces like:

A wide table facing a wall or an empty space
An orderly desktop that only contains what they need such as pens, a notebook, a laptop, and their files
A specific space used only for studying such as a spare room, in the basement, or in a corner of a library

Adults who are more effective when they are mentally stimulated may have workplaces that:

Promote creativity through post its with written ideas, photos of friends and family, and postcards with inspirational quotes
Are located in activity areas such as their bedroom, collaborative spaces with other students, or even in public outdoor areas

Mix and match to create a  study workspace that works for you. Throw in a couple of potted plants too. They’ve been proven to reduce stress and increase your concentration.

2. Successful learners know if they study better during the day, or at night

Successful learners know if they study better during the day, or at night

One of the perks of being an adult is having no bed time! This means you can study whenever your mind and body is most up to it.

Successful students take advantage of this by setting their own schedule.

Younger students often prefer to study late at night, but you may find that you study more effectively in the morning.

Both schedules have their own benefits.

If you are a morning person then studying during the day means you:

Have more energy to concentrate on your training course or degree in the morning
Can communicate more easily with your fellow students, trainers, and teachers
Can access libraries and workplaces open during the day

If you are a ‘night owl’, you:

Can study peacefully with less activity going on around you
Have fewer distractions since your social network may not be as active late at night
Can get a different perspective with day time pressures from work and daily life temporarily gone

3. Successful adult learners draw and doodle

Successful adult learners draw and doodle

As an adult, you are free to write (and draw) the way you want to, even if it looks like nonsense to everyone else.

Studies have found that doodling actually helps you concentrate and remember information better.

Creating abstract shapes, drawing faces and landscapes, or any other random scribbling on your notebook may help you process information by keeping your brain engaged when it would be otherwise bored and unattentive.

It also helps by:

Providing an alternate way to generate ideas
Making connections between concepts
Processing worries or emotions that may interfere in your study
Keeing your attention on your notes, instead of day-dreaming

4. Successful adults students don’t make excuses and stick to their plan

Successful adults students don

Most adults juggle multiple responsibilities, but still manage their time to gain further education and training.

Successful students don’t use “being busy” as an excuse to skip study time. To get past this you should:

Plan ahead by looking at your course units
Estimate the time to complete them, and choose the delivery method that fits your lifestyle – whether it be through self paced online courses or full Face to Face workshops
Create a schedule and list your major responsibilities to work out how much time you actually have, and which days you are free to study
Balance your time by still engaging with their family, friends and joining social activities

5. Successful adults in online courses break their training or degree into smaller chunks

Successful adults in online courses break their training or degree into smaller chunks

Some students get intimidated when they see the coverage of their course, but successful students know how manageable it really is once they divide it into ‘bite-sized’ chunks.

This means you don’t have to study for 4 hours straight, because most training courses today give you 1 or 2 years to finish them. This gives you a lot of time to spread out your study over multiple short periods so you can keep the information fresh and easily accessible in your mind.

You can do this by:

Setting 1 hour study periods on your study days with breaks in between
Breaking down goals so that you accomplish something every time you study (example: “By the end of this session, I should have enough information to answer the Part A of the my workbook.”)
Making a list of requirements and giving them priority based on how much work they take, and how soon they are due

6. Successful adults ask for help when they need it!

Successful adults ask for help when they need it!

Contrary to what you thought as a kid, even adults need help from time to time.

As a training student, your course likely comes with support from expert trainers or teachers. Successful students aren’t afraid to take advantage of their significant industry experience and ask advice when they feel lost.

Most trainers enjoy answering questions because it shows them that you are enthusiastic and committed to completing your course. It’s always a good idea to touch base with them from time to time to make sure you are on the right rack.

Besides from questions specific to what you’re having trouble with, you can ask things like:

What is an effective study schedule for my course?
Which subjects or units should I start studying first?
How much can I finish if I study for an hour everyday?
How can I improve my answers?
Are there any extra educational tools or resources you recommend?

7. Successful students know when to take a break!

Successful students know when to take a break!

Temporarily pausing your study may sound like the opposite thing you should do if you want to finish your course, but it helps in many ways. Relaxing and stepping away from your books and projects for a short time may:

Prevent burnout if you are binge studying for multiple hours and days
Refresh your brain and make yourself more receptive to the next topic
Give you a different perspective and generate ideas if you are stuck on a particular topic
Give you the opportunity to gain new insight about your course

Summary: How to Succeed as an Adult Learner

It’s never too late to switch careers and do what you love or start a new job in the industry you’re passionate about.

As an adult, you can pursue your passion by entering a training or education course, earning a degree, or gaining a formal qualification.

You even have massive advantages when it comes to education. These can help you finish your training course and put you on the way to pursuing your ideal career. To be a successful adult student, you should:

1. Create your own functional workspace
2.Know whether to study during the day or night
3.Doodle and draw your thoughts
4.Follow your plan
5.Break your course into smaller more manageable chunks
6. Ask help when you need it
7. Take breaks


What other tips, secrets, and techniques do you use to help you in your study?



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