Many people assume that after a certain age, gaining new qualifications and skills is beyond them. But, you can ‘teach an old dog new tricks! Our brains are ripe at any age to soak up new information and learn new things. In fact, it could be key to staying young…
Learning a new skill or studying for a new qualification is not just something for the ‘youngsters’. You CAN learn something new at any age but, as a student, what hints and tips do we have to help you through your course?
#1 You need SPACE
First on the list is creating physical space to study. Curled up on a sofa may appeal, as does reading on the bus to work but at some point, you will need study space.
For some courses, such as those teaching a practical skill, you will need this space to be appropriate. In other words, practising nail art on family or friends, or if you’re doing a distance learning beauty therapy course, you could apply your skills on a willing friend. You can’t do these from your sofa!
#2 You need TIME
The next thing to talk about is creating space in your busy life to squeeze in learning. This is essentially about creating time for you, and your dreams and goals:
- Distance learning courses are fantastic for studying at a time and place that suits you best but, if you are serious about gaining new skills, no matter how young or ‘old’ you may be, you have to realistic about creating enough time in life.
- Most courses will have a suggested amount of ‘learning time’. For example, most Level 2 courses suggest 360 hours of course and study time. Divide this figure by the number of weeks you would like to complete your course in, and you have the suggested number of hours of study per week.
- Making regular slots for studying – i.e. daily – ensures you stay on top of your course. You may choose to study in larger blocks whichever way suits your lifestyle is best for YOU, and this is why distance learning is a flexible option. BUT, you need to stay on top of your studies as let it slide too much, and it can feel like you have so much to do…
#3 The ‘Draw and Doodle’ Approach
If you are of a ‘certain age’, your memories of school and college will be of rigid learning in a set pattern, at a desk and done so quietly, listening to whoever was facilitating the lesson. It was controlled and a managed learning environment because it had to be in order for the class teacher to get through the course material.
But, with distance learning courses, you set the schedule and timetable and, providing your work through the material completing the assignments as you go, you are more than likely to be successful.
Sit at a desk or table but relax with your learning. ‘Draw and doodle’ method of learning is an interesting concept. Have a pen and paper nearby and, as you read through a piece of text or enjoy the course materials, doodle and/or draw main concepts, keywords, theories and talk or read out loud too.
#4 Stick to your plan
Distance learning IS great – fantastic course materials, helpful tutors who want you to succeed, a subject you find interesting and the feeling of stimulating your brain back into action are all reasons why so many students choose to study this way.
There is a downside in that if discipline is lacking, the end goal is lacking too. As an ‘older’ student you may be more practised at creating a plan or schedule – and sticking to it.
To get where you want or need to be – and the certificate of passing your course in the post – you need to create a plant and stick to it with NO excuses!
#5 Ask for help
You’ve read the course unit more than once, you have researched the concept online, you have read textbook extracts, you have doodled and pondered but you are still unsure…
‘Older’ learners can sometimes find it difficult asking for help. If you assume that by emailing your tutor you will be admitting defeat or showing weakness, think again because all students are where they are today because they asked for help.
For any student, distance learning courses can be the key to even more success at work or at home. Qualifications can provide the springboard to a new career too.
And so, with the fertile ground of the older mind, what is really stopping you from studying and learning a new skill?