It can be difficult for you to treat your studies seriously as an adult learner. Most adult learners are in part-time education, with usually only a few hours of study-time each week. If you are a learner, you probably have other responsibilities – you most likely have to work, look after a family and manage the household chores. Next to these responsibilities, learning can seem trivial and even slightly indulgent. It can seem as if you are being decadent spending time and money on a course when you could be cleaning the house – you hedonist you!
For some learners (or, let’s face it, suck-ups) taking themselves seriously might mean wearing a business outfit, even for correspondence courses, and making small talk with the tutor after every lesson. This kind of ultra-professionalism can be a sign of taking yourself seriously, and may possibly be a sign that you are in love with your tutor. However, those learners who study in their dressing gowns might be taking their learning just as seriously.
For passionate learners (wow, they are high energy!) taking themselves seriously might mean doing extra research on all the topics before and after each lesson, and signing up to every extra-curricular activity available. This kind of passion is a sign that you are really enjoying the class, you are determined to do well, and possibly that you are a bit lonely. However, unless your passion is a long-term thing, it can be difficult to keep up that kind of burning intensity for a subject, and some learners will fizzle-out by the end of the course.
Learners who take the course seriously are slightly different. If you are a serious learner, you treat your course with the same seriousness you would give a job. You have probably bought a textbook or companion book for the course and have a folder full of notes. You wouldn’t put up with using information from Wikipedia as an employee, or dipping into the free version of Google Books, and you shouldn’t put up with it as a learner either. What you are doing is important!
If you are a serious learner, you will treat attending your lessons like going to work. You attend every session, although you also take time off if you’re sick. If your course is year-round, you might take time off for annual leave too.
You also won’t be doing your homework at the very last minute. You will have found some time to work outside of class. It doesn’t matter if this is a regular weekly slot, or what time of day you do the homework. The most important thing is that you are doing the work for yourself, not for your tutor.
Still not sure if you're taking your course seriously enough? Take the quiz below and decide for yourself!
Your tutor suggests you make a trip to help with your studies. What do you do?
A: It was only a suggestion? You don’t have time for that!
B: You buy a season ticket to visit every day
C: You add it to your diary to make a visit in the next few weeks
You have been given a reading to do, how do you do it?
A: You log-on in the toilet at work, using your mobile phone.
B: You email your tutor and ask if there is any particular thing they would like you to focus on.
C: You print off the reading and go through it with a pen handy
One of your homework assignment questions does not make sense, but you won’t have another chance to work on this assignment before you submit. What do you do?
A: You skip the question
B: You phone your tutor
C: You interpret the question as best as you can.
Your main priority on this course is…
A: To complete it
B: To learn everything there is to learn
C: To improve your skills
You have an exam coming up and are thinking about revising…
A: Just make a few notes, then wing it!
B: Start at the beginning and re-do all the course material!
C: Check your timetable and prioritise the most difficult areas!
You need to choose an independent research project. Which do you choose?
A: The simplest sounding topic
B: The most impressive sounding topic
C: The most interesting sounding topic
Mostly A: You are a casual learner
Are you sure you want to do this course? Learners tend to get more out of courses when they put in more energy.
Mostly B: You are an over-enthusiastic learner
Slow down! You will get more out of the course, and find it less stressful, if you aim to improve your skills rather than learn everything and wow your tutor.
Mostly C: You are a serious learner
Excellent, we think you are taking your studies seriously, but not over-doing it.
If you are ready to take your learning seriously, come and sign up for one of our online or correspondence courses at the Academy for Distance Learning. You can work year round, at any time of day, you get unlimited tutor support and access to our online classroom.