adult_educationHow do you juggle studying as a mature student in adult education while holding down a day job? Continuing professional development (CPD) helps to maintain and build your employability throughout your career. However, it can be a bit of a shock if you’ve been out of higher education for a while. Here are 8 top tips to help you in adult education:

Organize yourself

Whatever you anticipate in terms of the time you will spend on your course, double it. Once you get the bug for studying, it can easily consume you. Get organized so you are prepared for the relentless demand for assignments and contributions in adult education. That means ring fencing time in your diary, delegating more, saying no, and being aware of your learning style and adopting ways to play to your preferences. And don’t forget that includes taking the lives of your loved ones into account.

The library isn’t like it used to be!

For some of you, when you last did some serious studying the world probably didn’t have a Twitter, a LinkedIn or a Wikipedia. You might only have gone to the Library. Academia is now using the power of search engines, online libraries and online forums for cohorts to share, learn and access materials. You can no longer be late with your assignment and say the dog ate your homework. The Web means the volume of information out there is too big for anyone, so be selective and disciplined.

Remember to be you

Getting into the rhythm of regular study can be bumpy for some. A common reason is self-limiting beliefs like ‘I’m not as good as others on the course, ‘I don’t have enough/too much to say’ and ‘I don’t know what they are looking for’. You don’t have to keep up with the neighbours, there are usually no definitive answers, say what you believe and hold your educators to account about what and how it is required. Show relentless curiosity and remember to be you.

Actively reflect

A return to studying in adult education is a wonderful opportunity to do something many people fail to find time for in the workplace and that’s to reflect. Reflecting used to be seen as a solitary activity and a poor cousin of ‘doing’ which is valued more highly in Western cultures. Reflecting in today’s digital world is far more proactive. Tweeting, blogging, joining communities of practice online or in person, keeping a video/audio or old-fashioned written diary are all ways for you to actively reflect in support of your learning.

Put first things first

One of Stephen Covey’s seven habits for highly effective people is “put first things first”.  In other words, managing yourself is about organizing and executing around priorities to achieve results. Focus on what is important to you and what urgently needs doing and manage the distractions. Just ensure that prioritizing doesn’t become “an avoidance strategy” which, according to journalist and self-help commentator, Oliver Burkeman, results in simply reorganizing your ‘to do’ list.

Self-awareness helps

Self-aware people understand their preferences, how they like to do things and what they are good at. They can describe their approach to time – attention to detail, systematic, spontaneous, last minute, early finisher, caring so they prioritize other people’s needs over their own etc. They find techniques and approaches that work for them, play to their strengths and know who to rely on and when.

Beware of these time stealers

  • Perfectionism – develop an iterative style
  • Butterfly jobs – identify urgent v important
  • Procrastination – do something
  • Interruptions – create boundaries
  • Over-planning – be flexible
  • Competing demands – be assertive
  • Social media/technology – disconnect

Dealing with information

Information burnout is a failure to filter, rather than a failure to find. It is often self-inflicted, preventable and manageable. It’s about choices and alignment – what we choose to pay attention to in order to move towards our goal. We are constantly feeding our addiction for information, our thirst for knowledge and our desire for insight and wisdom. So be selective and enjoy your experience in adult education.

Job Search
close slider
Are you looking for a government career? Your journey starts now!

Your Career Search Just Got Easier

Pin It on Pinterest