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How to Create the Ideal Learning Environment For Older Students

Older students (learners older than the average age of a college student) generally have learning patterns and study habits that are quite different than that of younger students. To illustrate, older students tend to have longer attention spans, higher autonomy, better discipline, and more life experiences. Nevertheless, many older students still have difficulties in focusing, fully grasping a topic, and keeping themselves motivated—just like younger students do.

Another key difference between these two groups is that older students spend most of their time learning from home—unless they are taking full college loads. Most tend to have other big responsibilities like taking care of the children or working a full-time job, which makes it difficult to attend school all day. Hence, most older students learn from home, especially if they are taking graduate programs on top of having a job.

If you fall into the category of an older student and spend most of your study time at home, then making your home more conducive to learning is essential. That said, here are several ways you can turn your home into a space that is more conducive to learning:

  1. Set up a home office

If you don’t already have one, setting up a home office is one of the best ways to make remote learning easier and more effective. This is especially true if you have kids in the house or live in a particularly distracting neighborhood. A home office can be your sacred space for both learning and working; a quiet, non-distracting area where you can do your work in peace.

Having a home office also helps you set boundaries when it comes to work and school. If you tend to do your work anywhere else in the house, it can be difficult to separate your school/work from your persona life. Whereas if you have a space dedicated to work and school, it is easier to leave that part of your life at the end of the day and focus on other things, such as doing housework, spending time with your family, or just relaxing after a long day of hitting the books.

  1. Invest in lighting automation

An automated lighting system lets you turn on, turn off, and dim lights from the palm of your hand. Aside from the general benefit and convenience that this type of technology provides, it can make it easier for you to control the lighting whenever you’re studying—which is extremely important, especially for older students who may have eyesight problems.

If you think this is an upgrade that your house needs, get in touch with a Savant home automation system supplier and installer as soon as possible.

  1. Consider soundproofing

Just like young students, older students can also have difficulties focusing, especially in disruptive environments like a busy household. If this is the case for your home, consider soundproofing your home office so that it minimizes the amount of noise that enters the room.

Here are some of the best ways you can soundproof your home office:

  • Install acoustic sound panels on the walls
  • Situate heavy furniture against walls to muffle sounds coming from outside
  • Seal the gaps in the doors and windows
  • Hang tapestries and other heavy materials on the walls
  • Lay down area rugs to help absorb noise
  • Add extra drywall
  • Hang noise-reducing curtains

If all else fails, it may be worth investing in a pair of noise-canceling headphones.

  1. Set boundaries

Unless you live alone, it can be difficult to focus on your studies when you have other members of the family milling about the house and creating distractions. It can be worse if you are a parent and have children popping their heads in the door while you’re trying to do schoolwork. That said, it is important that you set boundaries at home—whether you live with family or roommates.

For example, set a rule for your children that disallows them from entering your home office unless they have something urgent to tell you. If you have roommates, on the other hand, ask them to keep the noise down whenever you’re attending classes or deep-diving into your dissertation.

  1. Stay comfortable

Older people are more susceptible to bodily pain when sitting for too long, which makes body pain a common problem for older students who spend most of their time in front of the computer. To avoid this plight, invest in ergonomic furniture to reduce your risk of back pain, neck pain, and other types of common aches that come with staying in one position for long periods of time.

If you are an older student—especially if you’re living with family—these tips can help you avoid the most common problems that older learners experience, including distractions, body pain, eye strain, and much more.

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