How to avoid being unsuccessful in continuing education is the key to success for all adult learners. However, there are common mistakes many adult students make when enrolled in education courses which often lead to dropping out of school. Being an educator at the essay writing service, I should say that if adult learners fall into the mode of procrastination, disorganization, or negativity they soon find themselves on a path leading to a short and unsuccessful education experience.
The key to not dropping out of an educational experience is to discover ways to avoid common pitfalls some adult learners fall into, such as being tired of school and spending the necessary time to study. These pitfalls lead to lower grade point averages, frustration, and a sense of wasting time. This also leads to adult students developing negative feelings and self-doubt, which place,s a strain on family and work relationships.
Characteristics of Adult Learners
The following provides the characteristics of adult learners and useful for evaluating a continuing education program’s methods and techniques for teaching adult students.
- Autonomous and Self-Directed – do program courses allow adult students to work on projects that reflect their interest, allowing responsibility for presentations and group leadership by students? In this case, the course instructors are facilitators of learning and are not all-knowing purveyors of knowledge. Adult students learn how to obtain and use new knowledge, rather than simply memorize facts.
- Prior Knowledge and Experiences (PKE) – do program course instructors draw upon adult student PKE in relevant learning experiences? Theories and concepts related to PKE add value to the learning experience, along with helping students internalize new information.
- Achieving Educational Goals – do program courses help adult students achieve their educational goals? Review courses in the program to ensure they meet short and long-term goals. Often educational organizations add filler courses in programs to meet degree credit requirements. Make continuing education programs show how they meet educational goals and not the other way around, do not settle for unsatisfactory alternatives.
- Practical Courses – do courses provide practical useful information for improving job performance or changing a career? Extraneous knowledge is useful for trivia games; however, all course information must be directly related to achieving educational goals and objectives.
- Respect – are adult students allowed to participate in class discussions and treated as equals? Acknowledging that adult students come to class with a wealth of knowledge is critical to respect. Being treated like a blank slate is disrespectful to adults, and leads to dissatisfaction and the feeling of wasting time and money.
Retention and Transference of New Knowledge
Adult students need the freedom to apply and use new information in situations related to their job and PKE. Continuing education programs must provide appropriate settings in which adult students solve problems and practice for developing an understanding of what they learned.
Transference of new information to current or future situations is critical to the retention of new knowledge learned in continuing education programs. For example, students:
- Associated new information with prior knowledge and experiences (PKE).
- Learned new information directly connected to student applications of knowledge through instructor facilitation.
- Transferred new knowledge to their job or new career objectives.
For adults to achieve success in continuing education programs, they must ensure a program meets their educational goals and objectives. Courses in programs must allow an adult student to fully participate in the learning process. Adult students must understand what they learning, why they are learning it, and how they can apply it to their situations.
A reputable and good continuing education program considers these factors. Remember all programs are not equal and need to be evaluated before enrolling.
Success Tips: Strategies for Achieving Educational Goals
The following are tips for success in achieving educational goals:
- Set Clear Goals – establish an action plan of clear short- and long-term goals. These can include desired GPA, courses to complete each semester, degree desired, and daily goals.
- Use Campus Resources – use the library, talk to counselors, enroll in study skills workshops, visit writing centers, and seek help from tutors if necessary. Everyone needs assistance at some point and seeking help is a sign of the desire to succeed.
- Do Not Take Too Many Classes – adult learners must develop a sense of what they can successfully handle in balancing their social life, careers, and school work. Overloading of any of these three may lead to dropping out of adult education.
Success Strategies: Improving Study Skills
The following are tips for improving study skills:
- Review Notes and Material Often – failing to review material periodically leads to last-minute cram sessions and anxiety. Simply rereading material several times is not enough, reviewing and reciting notes often is essential to understanding.
- Find a Quiet Place to Study – studying in front of a television or a noisy location makes it difficult to concentrate and focus due to the many distractions.
- Do Not Cram – this strategy typically leads to just getting by, along with achieving lower grade point averages (GPA). One rule of thumb to remember is that any GPA below 3.0 generally results in lower chances of finding good jobs or a promotion.
- Use a Planner or Schedule Booklist and plan time for classes, study, tests, papers, recreation, and social activities.
College Class: Using Class Time Effectively
The following are tips for getting the most of classes:
- Do Not Miss Class or Be Late – this is a critical commitment to success. Missing class leads to missing important information, regardless of the amount of time missed. Treat class schedules just like job requirements, be there every class and never be late.
- Take Notes in Class – adult students have hectic lives and it is impossible to remember everything that goes on in class. In most cases, class discussions and talking points appear on tests and exams.
- Do Not Cheat – it is better to not turn in an assignment and skip a test if passing will only be accomplished through cheating. If caught cheating, students are generally placed on probation or even suspended from school.
- Complete All Assignments – course syllabi establish specific times when assignments are due and few instructors accept late work without severe penalties. Maximum grade potential is earned when assignments are turned in on time.
Anxiety: Strategies for Continuing Education
The following are tips to help avoid the stresses of continuing education that often lead to anxiety:
- Get Enough Sleep – being tired all the time causes inattentiveness in class and falling asleep when reading course materials. This makes it difficult to focus and remember important information.
- Eat a Balanced Diet – eating junk food, candy, and fatty foods often lead to a feeling of sluggishness and procrastination when it comes to school work, along with life’s commitments in general.
- Do Not Try to Be Like Everyone Else – everyone is different. All adult students have their own social lives, careers, and goals in life. Although it is important to meet people and make friends, remember this is not like work or high school where cliques are often important.
- Do Not Have a Negative Attitude – developing a negative attitude to coursework, instructors, or personal abilities is the quickest path to failing or dropping out of school. Some adult students develop a sense that they know more than the instructor, which leads to negative feelings by both parties. Remember the best instructors are there to facilitate learning by everyone in the class.
Making Connections: Ways to Make Continuing Education Successful
These guidelines on how to avoid dropping out of adult education programs lead to success. Adult learners sometimes enter continuing education programs with concern regarding their ability to succeed and these tips along with the seven habits of successful learners, help avoid any disillusionment that may develop. Ways to make education a positive learning experience is to meet short- and long-term goals by avoiding the common pitfalls that lead to dropping out of school.