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TeachLearnRepeat's Benefits for Adult Learners

How can the use of our site assist with lifelong learning?

Once primary and secondary education has been completed, it's off to the working world for most of us. Additional learning opportunities tend to come in fits and starts - when the job at hand demands additional training, when a new project requires certification or accreditation, or when a loss of a job forces us to seek retraining in order to update our skills.

The one thing adult learners quickly discover is that 12 or 16 years or more of unbroken, continuous learning when they were young meant that they never gave a second thought to the process of learning. When you are exposed to new concepts, subjects and ideas every year, you are in the flow of learning, and your study habits and preferences carry through from year to year. Taking a five year, ten year (or even longer) break from learning interrupts that flow, and we find ourselves having to think more about the best way to absorb and retain new knowledge.

This article discusses two maxims generally applied to adult learners and how using a site such as can be a great tool to assist learners in getting back into the flow - and staying there!

Learning Through Doing; Learning From Mistakes

Lifelong learning usually involves the learning of new terminology, concepts, best practices and methodologies. It's really not enough to have adult learners read through books or manuals on these new topics and expect the concepts to be rapidly absorbed.

Entering questions and answers into collections of questions using actively engages a learner. Beyond simply reading and thinking about the new material, the learner is reexpressing the material in a new way, and the process of doing just that enhances the learning experience tremendously. Thinking of the new material as answers to questions (and capturing it in electronic form) means that now the new material can be presented back to the same learner at any time in the future in a drill or quiz format.

We designed our Quiz Engine app at TeachLearnRepeat to recognize and exploit the fact that it's not wrong to make mistakes in the process of learning, as long as one can, in the end, learn from those mistakes. For example, our Quiz Engine works best when the learner takes advantage of the review of the wrong answers at the end of every quiz. Each time a Quiz is taken, the questions answered incorrectly will be presented again, since it's probable that getting the question wrong the first time (and seeing the correct answer) has initiated a new connection in the brain. The opportunity to be able to quickly reinforce that connection by answering the question correctly the second time increases the probabilities for long term retention. Then, repeating the quiz material as a whole (as many times as needed) reinforces retention even further.

Self-Directed, Internally Motivated Learning

As adult learners, we like to take advantage of the fact that we can take much more control over our learning experience, as compared to when we were high school or college students. While we may have time constraints and limits on how long we may take to learn new subjects, we also feel our age and experience mean we have a better idea of what works better for our personal situations.

In a sense, that works to our advantage since a lot of seminars, workshops, corporate classes and continuing education is not graded - there may only be a pass/fail assessment at the end of the course, or in many cases, no particular assessment at all (seminars and workshops, for example).

Yet, we are still in the classroom, or on the computer, for a reason, we're not just marking time. We are expected to learn something - and not just for the moment.

In situations like that, it behooves us to try to find ways to self-assess (if possible), and also review material we've supposedly learned, especially in cases where significant time has passed between the actual training or learning, and the practical application and use of that training or learning.

One of's early goals was providing two important supporting elements to the learning process. One is a place where a learner can store all of the facts, concepts, terminology and constructs they need to learn, and the second is a tool that allows them to assess, or measure, the level at which they remember what they've needed to learn.

TeachLearnRepeat means "Teach yourself, Learn effectively, Repeat often". Being able to reassess retention, or the ability to remember and recall knowledge, can be of great help in this area. To do that, you need a place to store all of the questions and answers about the facts and concepts you've learned, and you need software effective at both review and assessment. provides this to you.

If you take the time, and use to enter your material in a question and answer format into Question Collections, you've already crossed the half-way point in your learning, while at the same time, enabled immediate use of two free tools on our site: the Quiz Engine and TurboLearn. Both tools are perfect for ongoing review, they can be used whenever and whereever you like, and the Quiz Engine provides the additional benefit of assessment of your current level of retention. © 2011