Facing your Fears about Adult Learning

The best Halloween stories are about facing your fears, whether it’s exploring a haunted house, investigating a strange noise, or venturing out into the dark, these stories rely on you stepping out of your comfort zone.

Of course, in horror stories, the ending is often an unpleasant one, but that isn’t usually the case when you face your fears in day-to-day life.

If the thought of stepping back into learning feels like stepping into an abandoned forest at midnight, it might be time to brush away the cobwebs and look at the possibility of further education in a new light.

Here are some of the most common fears about adult education and online learning with the best advice to overcome them.

School was a horrible experience and I don’t want to go back

The most common response when I’ve asked people why they wouldn’t consider further learning or qualifications is that they hated school and struggled through it, and so as an adult the last thing they want to do is repeat the experience over again.

Of course, learning now is very different, and the emphasis is to give autonomy to the learner. You are in control of your learning experience with guidance and support from your training provider. Today, learning and development is focused on empowerment and meeting the individual needs of the learner, which creates a positive learning environment rather than replicating the traditional classroom from many years ago.

I don’t have the time to dedicate to learning and so I would fail

Time pressure and care commitments are important considerations before starting a new course or qualification. However, learning is now flexible thanks to online learning platforms like the Laser.

Learning either completely online or as part of a blended learning programme means learning can fit around your schedule. It’s always daunting to take on an additional commitment of this size but being able to dedicate a small amount of time each day at a moment that works for you is often all you need.

I’m terrible with computers so I couldn’t learn online

There’s often the assumption that an online learning system is complicated. It’s quite the opposite. Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) like the Laser are built to be as simple to use as possible and accessible to people with different levels of IT skill, as well as accessible to those with English as their second language.

If you can use social media sites and an email account, you are more than capable of using a VLE or e-portfolio to learn online.

I don’t want to do it on my own

Another assumption about learning online is that it is an isolating experience. The benefits of learning online are that you can do it alone if you wish and you can continue your learning in a place you feel comfortable without any distractions. On the other hand, it doesn’t demand you learn alone.

It’s important you involve your workplace in your learning and development, so you can demonstrate your new skills and knowledge. You can learn with a workplace mentor, or alongside colleagues, and you can pass on your skills and knowledge to those you work with to improve practice within your organisation.

The truth is, if you can overcome your fears about further education or online learning, the rewards are worth it. Once you begin your course you will have already faced the majority of fears you had, and you will be on the path to improving your skills, knowledge, and confidence both personally and professionally.

Achieving a certificate, completing a qualification, or showcasing your new skills and knowledge is a feeling you never forget, and an addictive one! Often those who take the plunge and achieve something they never thought was possible are also the people who return again and again to continue their learning journey.

This Halloween ask yourself: what is there to be afraid of?