Top Common Concerns of Adult Learners

As an adult learner, enrolling to a new course can be a daunting prospect. There are many adults returning to study or deciding to study for the first time, so you are not alone in your concerns. It is important to realise that while you may face obstacles, adult learning is a fulfilling endeavour that will help you grow personally and professionally.

Read on to learn the common concerns of adult learners and the best way you can address them.


‘I’ll have to quit my job’ is one of the most common misconceptions of adult learners. The good news is, this is completely false. Educational institutions structure flexible adult learning courses so that you can still attend your other commitments. They understand that you require an income and you may have children to look after, so they attempt to be as accommodating as possible.

Most courses are offered online which means you are able to design your own study structure. You can decide when you watch lectures and complete assignments, and the best part is – you can do all of this in a comfortable learning environment. No need to stress about commuting to class, finding a car park or missing out on time with your family!


While costly tuition fees are one of the many common concerns of adult learners, online courses are a cost efficient option for adults returning to study. The net cost of an online qualification is far less than that of a face-to-face university one.

The best savings come with associated costs. You do not have to worry about the cost of travel because everything is offered online, nor do you need to spend hundreds of dollars on prescribed texts because most course materials are offered for free digitally.


You’re not the only one who has thought, ‘I’m too old to study’. Adult learning is valuable because you have a different perspective on education. Having experienced the world, you will be more aware of how important learning is and this will impact the approach you take with your studies.

Many adult learners do not realise that age is their greatest advantage as a student. You are able to make mature and informed decisions, and you can map a realistic vision of where you qualification can take you.

Learning Advances

Many adult learners worry that they won’t be able to adapt to the new learning of today. Undoubtedly, the way we learn continues to change, especially with digital advances in learning. You may be worried that you won’t be able to keep up with other students but there is no need to stress. Most adult learning courses provide their students with plenty of resources to help aid their learning.

Don’t be afraid to email your course coordinator, they are there to support your learning and will not think less of you for asking a question. Online courses often have a discussion board as well for students to post queries, so if you are struggling, reach out to other students who are always happy to help.

Employer Perceptions

Some common concerns of adult learners are that potential employers might not value online courses. This is not the case. Your recruiter’s perception will be based on how well you market yourself. Adult learning courses are equal if not greater than other qualifications. They are a strong talking point if you reach an initial interview stage.

Many online courses have a low retention rate, an online qualification will show your employer that you have a high-level of commitment to your learning. This can easily be used as a selling point for your strong work ethic and high productivity.

Burning Out

‘I wouldn’t be able to handle it’. Has this thought run through your mind? It’s normal, everyone thinks it. The idea of adding another commitment to an already busy schedule is one of the common concerns of adult learners. With a few sacrifices and some goal setting behaviour, you will be able to pull through.

This could mean rearranging time with your friends and family or taking a break from a hobby. In the long run, you will be grateful that you did it. If things begin to overwhelm you, take a step back and enjoy some time away.


The best thing about adult learning courses is that they are designed with the flexibility to allow you to attend to other commitments. All adults returning to study experience a number of concerns. The important thing is to persevere and not let your fear hold you back from achieving your goals.