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How to become a brilliant adult Learner – 10 facts

By Alexander Ross

So, how can you become a brilliant adult learner? As an adult, you have plenty of experience to build on and will focus on specialised studies rather than shallow generalised learning. Knowing how to start might be hard, and I hope this post will inspire you.

Here are ten key points to bring to your studies:

  1. Adopt the right mindset: The right mindset for learning as an adult should include self-confidence in your academic potential and will to study. Self-motivation, curiosity, and eagerness to gain new skills, are essential qualities that you must develop. Irrespective of skill that you lack, you will be subjected to an unobtrusive evaluation by your private tutor, who will gradually form an understanding of your principal strengths and weaknesses. So, provided you determine, from the start, to exercise curiosity, enthusiasm, and an open mind, your tutor will address any issues you might encounter when studying at home, to ensure your learning is stress free and highly productive.
  2. Identify your learning style: There is not a single recipe for ensuring productive home-study. Thankfully, private tuition will enable you to control your study regime, techniques, and strategies, because whatever suits other students might not suit you. Your tutor will suggest the main framework you should adopt, and you should shape your present capabilities and talents accordingly. But your open-mindedness will allow you to try out reliable strategies and techniques to optimise your favourite study practices.
  3. Set specific goals: Define what you want to achieve and set specific goals to stay on track and be motivated. If you find this difficult, consider using the so-called SMART framework, devised by George Doran of Spokane, Washington, in 1981. This goal-setting technique that involves setting goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-related.

    Specific: Goals should be clear and specific and describe precisely what you wish to achieve. The more specific, the easier it will be to develop your plan.
    Measurable: Goals should be measurable to track progress and know when you have attained your objectives. They should include quantifiable, specific criteria or targets.
    Achievable: Goals should be realistic and achievable, given your current skills, resources, and circumstances. Unrealistic goals lead to frustration and dissatisfaction.
    Relevant: Goals should apply to your aspirations and conform to your values, interests, and long-term plans.
    Time-related: Goals should have specific deadlines for completion. This motivates and creates a sense of urgency, which allows you to monitor progress and adjust as needed.
  4. Create a learning plan: Let’s suppose you want to really strengthen your English by reading about René Descartes’ quest for certain knowledge. Your tutor agrees and tailors ten home-study assignments for you. Now, you want to plan your learning over the next twenty weeks. Here is what it should look like.

    An example of a home-study plan for reading Descartes to learn English

    Week 1-2: Descartes’ life and work
    – Critical reading about Descartes’ childhood in France, later studies in La Flèche and Poitiers, and his subsequent travels and exploits in Europe until his publication of Meditations on First Philosophy, in 1641 at the age of 45.
    – Plan and write an essay entitled From Obscurity to Influence: The Reception of the 1641 Latin Edition of Meditations on First Philosophy.
    – Send essay to tutor for evaluation and critique.
    – Contact tutor to arrange online tutorial.

    Week 3-4: First Meditation – What can be called into doubt
    – Critical reading of the first meditation to analyse the notion of hyperbolic scepticism by questioning the reliability of the senses. Consider the limitations, but the possibility of dreaming or deception by a malicious demon, or even by God, if He exists. Understand the conclusion that nothing can be known with certainty!
    – Plan and write an essay entitled Descartes’ malicious demon argument and its significance for epistemology.
    – Send essay to tutor for evaluation and critique.
    – Contact tutor to arrange online tutorial.

    Continue to construct your study plan in this manner, based on the assignment guidelines. Remember, this is a general outline and adjustable to your needs and goals. The key is to practise consistently and seek feedback to ensure you are making progress.
    It will soon become clear that reading and writing, in the tradition of Oxford study, is the most powerful way to understand how English is used, and eventually gain lifelong fluency.
  5. Use a variety of resources: Do not restrict yourself to one resource, such as a textbook or audio-visual lecture. Use a variety of reading and listening sources that include books, videos, podcasts, and websites.
  6. Practice regularly: Consistency is fundamental to learning, so set regular study times and stick to them.
  7. Seek feedback: Feedback will explain your weaknesses and allow you to refine your learning approach. Expect feedback from your private tutor and your AI assistant.
  8. Collaborate with others: Learning is often more effective when you collaborate with others. Join study groups, participate in online forums, or find a mentor who can guide you.
  9. Take breaks: Learning can be tiring, so take regular breaks and move around periodically.
  10. Celebrate your successes: Do not forget to celebrate your successes, no matter how small. Celebrating progress helps you to stay motivated and inspires you to continue.

    Good luck with your English studies!

    When you want to read and write in Oxford style, talk to a tutor about your ideas.

As an adult, you have
a wealth of opportunities to continue
to learn and grow.


Becoming a brilliant adult learner is within your reach. By embracing a growth mindset, identifying your learning style, setting specific goals, creating a learning plan, using a variety of resources, practicing regularly, seeking feedback, collaborating with others, taking breaks, and celebrating your successes, you can achieve your learning goals and continue to grow and develop as an adult learner.

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