The brain is an amazingly complex piece of work. It’s also the most important organ in your body, as it houses all identities, thoughts, and memories. So when you hear that there’s a link between age and learning difficulties, it’s understandable that you’d want to know more.
The most common reason it gets harder to learn as you get older is that your brain has been absorbing information for many years. It’s getting packed up, and it can’t handle the same amount of data it used to. According to HGH therapy doc clinic High levels of growth hormone positively affect cognition and learning: learners find that what was once easy becomes difficult. So this results in a perception of increasing difficulty and additional challenges with cognitive processing strategies often needed to process new information – in other words, difficulty in understanding new stimuli or lack of competence in “processing, storing, retrieving and utilizing acquired knowledge.”
In addition to simply getting older, six factors make learning harder for children as they grow:
1 – The School System Needs to Have The Most Effective Teaching Methods
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We may complain about our child’s teacher, but could we be more interested in our child’s education if we understood how the brain processes information? This can help you understand why your child might have difficulty learning and what you might do about it.
2 – Your Metabolism has Changed
How do you learn? If you’re like most people, you “get” it by reading or listening to someone or doing something new – like traveling or experiencing something for the first time. Then your brain processes all the information and internalizes what’s important. Memory becomes a part of your long-term memory bank and is easily retrievable when needed (i.e., if you need to explain what happened in your travels). Once the information is removed from the initial learning stimulus, it has become part of your brain’s long-term memory bank, and you can use it later. As we age, our brains are affected by changes in our metabolism. The two processes that affect this are:
A. The speed at which we metabolize food. In other words, how fast your body processes what you eat and how quickly it can burn it off to make energy.
B. The amount of fuel you burn as you go about your daily life (called Basal Metabolic Rate). This is measured in calories, and healthy adults tend to burn about 3500 calories daily. These factors affect how much fuel your brain needs to function optimally. The more efficient your metabolism, the more power you have to make the required energy around the clock. Most older people do not have an efficient metabolism, resulting in a slower metabolism rate. This results in a slower pace of “burning” fuel for the brain, and you need to burn more calories to stay cognitively healthy. If you have less energy to work with, it will be harder for you to learn more efficiently.
3 – Your Brain’s Response to The Environment is Changing
You seek out and learn about new and exciting things when you’re young. As you get older, this changes. When you’re young, your brain is more attracted to novelty (new challenges), so your learning environment contains a lot of novel information.
But as we age, our brains become more influenced by the things we’ve learned rather than how new they are. As a result, we gravitate more towards what we already know, and our environment can feel “old and dry” if you’re lacking new challenges.
4 – Your Brain has Gotten Used to Old Habits (Habituation)
This is the effect that occurs when you repeat a stimulus multiple times. What happens is that your brain becomes used to it to process the information. It becomes “old hat,” so to speak, and you’re not interested in doing it anymore.
5 – Your Brain has Compensated for Weaknesses by Creating New Pathways (Learned Behavior)
When your brain determines what you’re good at and bad at, it adjusts how it processes the information (encoding) based on this. It develops new habits that help compensate for your weaknesses, which can reduce your learning capacity for those things you aren’t good at.
6 – You Need Help Prioritizing Your Tasks, Which Can Lead to Multitasking.
Multitasking is an increasingly popular way of doing things, and it’s become especially prevalent as technology has advanced. These techniques allow you to do more than one thing at a time, but they come with a cost – they reduce your overall learning capacity. This is why older learners do well in some areas of their life but not in others. It’s also important to track what you’re doing and compare it to your learning goals – because your goals may be met with a lower level of learning than you initially expected.
Download a free chapter of the book “The Brain That Changes Itself” and learn more. As you evaluate your child’s learning environment, keep this in mind – if it has been years since they started school or got their last evaluation, it’s hard to know what their brain’s been up to.
What’s The Result?
Since you were young, your brain has been actively making new connections, but it’s also been getting rid of the ones that aren’t important or relevant. So the cognitive factors need to be considered as you evaluate your child’s performance at school. Addressing difficulties with learning represents a significant opportunity to improve your child’s ability to learn and achieve more.