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Online Learning: No, You’re Not Too Old And Yes, It’s For You
February 17, 2020


At Claremont Lincoln University, we serve the non-traditional student who has chosen to get a graduate degree online.

Two questions I hear a lot are: “Am I too old?” and "Is online learning for me?"

I don’t believe age should be an issue when deciding to attend college, unless you have locked yourself away from reading and learning since attending college.

How's that, you ask? Well...

Never Too Old

A few years ago, a military veteran approached me and told me he was dropping out of college.

He had been deployed twice overseas, before finishing the military. Then he worked, started a family, and settled into his civilian life.

Five years later, he was in his first year of college. He told me, “I am not smart enough for college.”

What he was actually experiencing was his lack of skill in learning. 

He had to re-learn how to learn.  Non-traditional students--those who didn’t start college in their teens--have been dealing with events, not classrooms, experiences, not homework.

There is a Facebook page, MOOC courses, numerous articles and textbooks with the title Learning How to Learn, so apparently this is a common problem.

So how do you start studying when you’ve been away from the books?

Start learning in chunks.  Read a page, tell yourself what you read, then read more.  Then connect the chunks. And take many breaks.

Can I really learn online?

The second issue, online learning, also depends on learning how to learn.

But the determinant for success in online learning boils down to 5 personal qualities.

1 & 2. Self-motivation and discipline

If you are committed to learning, you'll soon realize online learning is not easier than classroom learning.

Like anything you want to succeed at, online learning requires work.

3. Time management

Make your studies part of your daily routine, like exercise, brushing your teeth, and going to work.

You do all of that in one day, and sometimes, as a routine at the same times each day.

Do the same with your studies. 

4. Writing skills

Well, I hate to say this, but many people just don’t know how to compose a simple coherent paragraph.

If you learned a second language, or math, then you can learn to write.

But you must learn! Use the plethora of resources available, starting with The Owl.

5. Collaboration

You will have to work in teams, which is part of online learning, so don’t be afraid to ask for help from your peers.

So, can you really learn online? Yes. Yes, you can.

To learn online, you need motivation, discipline, time, writing skills, and collaboration.

But most importantly, you have to start. 

Take some advice from Seth Godin: Soon is not as good as now!