Top 10 adult learning strategies to make the most of the classroom

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You have finally found time in your hectic schedule to book into that course you have wanted to attend.  We have all been to training courses and felt really inspired but then we get back to the office and much of what we have learnt has been forgotten or not used.  These ten tips will help you get the most out of an adult learning experience and set you up for success back at work.


1. Find your seat

  • Make sure you are comfortable.
  • Can you see the trainer and the screen?
  • Do you have enough room?
  • Choose to sit with people you don’t know, and try sitting in different parts of the room when you can.
  • Stand up every now and again, it’s not good for us to sit all day. Standing will keep the blood flowing to your brain and provide the energy you need to concentrate.

2. Set goals

  • What do you want to learn?
  • Write down your questions before going into training, so you don’t forget.
  • Review your goals during training and see if you are achieving them.   If you haven’t achieved them check with the trainer to make sure they are covered.

3.  Ask questions

  • Engage in interactive discussions this stimulates commitment and thinking.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

4.  Link learning to work

  • It’s important to link what you are learning to the work you do.
  • Connect training to your foundation of knowledge and work experiences.
  • As you learn something new, think about how you could use or adapt it to your work needs.   Keep notes on this as you go.
  • You should get ideas every now and then,” this would be useful at my work”.   Write these ideas down so you don’t forget.
  • Come back to these lists one week and then again one month after the learning experience to ensure you have begun using the knowledge.

5.  Be an active participant

  • You will get a lot more out of the session if you make an effort to join in during group activities and partake in discussions.
  • Put your hand up and volunteer often.

6.  Network and have fun 

  • Without trust and connection we can’t develop a relationship that enables learning.
  • Exchange e-mail addresses and interact with one another and with the trainer outside of the classroom.
  • The relationships you develop are often one of the best outcomes.
  • Having fun is also proven to help us achieve our learning goals.

7.   Consider your Learning Style

  • Everyone learns differently.
  • Know which ways work best for you, and work out how you can use that to your advantage during class.
  • Do a learning styles test to understand the way you like to learn.
  • Know and work with your strengths.

8. Reflect on learning

  • Make yourself student and teacher, participant and observer.
  • Take notes as you go.
  • At the end of each segment of training think about, what’s the most useful thing you’ve learned?
  • What’s the one thing that made you think?
  • What are you going to do differently from now on?
  • And, what will you learn next time? Makes some notes on this.

9.  Use it or Lose It

  • In the week after your course has been completed, you will most likely have some questions. Ask them, e-mail your trainer or a classmate, make use of online forums. And, keep your text book or learning resources as a reference and review tool.

10. Make a plan

Based on what you learn, write a plan for what you might do differently after the training. If you were sent by your work, write a thank you note or letter to your supervisor/manager. Then list some bullet points under the following topics.

  1.   My 3 top learnings were….
  2.   I am going to do the following as a consequence of what I learned
  3.   I think we as an organisation should do the following based on what I learned
  4.   I think this training would be suitable for (what roles in your organisation if any)
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