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Understanding Why You Need to Learn

Today, you are 30 or 40 or 50 years of age. You have some work experience under your belt. And you probably have some negative attitudes toward school and "book learning."

Unfortunately, your manager has informed you of some upcoming cutbacks, known as downsizing. You begin to ask yourself, "Will it be me?" Your company's initial reorganization passes you by. You still have your job. You're a survivor!

You now begin to think about the next reengineering, which will undoubtedly take place within the next few years, and begin to question your ability to survive continued cutbacks.

As part of this self-assessment, you probably will recognize the need to improve some job skills and advance your formal education. You must become more valuable to the organization. The skills you've acquired over the years no longer match the exacting needs of a changing marketplace. In short, you now must become an adult learner.

It may have been 10 or 20 years since you graduated from school. You now approach this challenge of learning new things as an adult with some trepidation and anxiety. You haven't sat in a classroom in years! You haven't taken an exam that meant anything in years! How can you compete with younger, bright-eyed recent college graduates?

The relief for your anxiety and the answer to this question will center on your ability to approach the challenge of adult learning by rekindling the enthusiasm, positive attitude and self-motivation of your youth.

In addition, you must sharpen those learning skills again. Fortunately, your intelligence, learning skills and abilities are still there. And your occupational survival depends on them.

We learned to learn many years ago as children. To be an effective adult learner requires us to resurrect those early positive childhood learning experiences in terms of attitude and motivation.

In addition, we need to determine how we learn. We need to identify our learning profile as adults. Understanding the learning process, coupled with a positive attitude and enthusiasm for learning, should make us effective adult learners.