Don’t let the title of this blog post scare you off. If you’re reading this, chances are you’re interested in learning–soaking in knowledge for the sake of learning–so hopefully you’re in this for the long haul. Being a lifelong learner isn’t just a term used by the 50-year-old man or woman in your intro to psych class, it’s a mindset. Personally, I believe continuing your education, whether it’s in school or out of it, is imperative to growing and evolving as a human being.
Learning certainly isn’t–and shouldn’t be– limited to what you learn in a classroom. If you truly want to learn, there are numerous ways to go about expanding your mental horizons without spending a dime of your own money or entering a classroom near you.
Learn Technical Skills Via Video
How often do you find yourself seeing others almost effortlessly execute something like whipping up an Excel chart, creating a graphic or doing some backend coding that leaves you wondering “how can I do that?” If you’re anything like just about everyone else, it’s probably pretty often.
And how many of those times do you make a concerted effort to actually learn? Probably not quite as many, if at all.
Learning these tasks–for example, how to make a pivot table in Microsoft Excel–are easily taught skills. Simply Googling the problem (as most people are age are wont to do) can help smooth the issue out in a matter of minutes. Additionally, skills like the aforementioned Microsoft Excel tables can be hugely beneficial in securing a job. Technical skills, everything from graphic design or coding to knowledge of how to write a business proposal are the exact things that many hiring managers will be looking for when seeking out potential employees. It looks even more impressive that you learned them on your own time by your own volition!
Take Courses Online
There is an incredibly wide array of resources online to continue learning via credible, established sources. Websites like Coursera offer a vast, varied pool of online classes taught by real professors from real, accredited universities across the country like UPenn, Stanford and Duke. Some courses are free to take, while others require small fees to enroll.
EdX functions in an extremely similar manner, offering courses from some of the country’s most esteemed colleges and universities. The learning levels are varied as well, offering everything from high school courses to higher education, complete with some courses that are offered for real college credit!
Experience Real Life
Famous author and poet James Joyce once said “mistakes are the portal of discovery.” That is a short and fluent way to say that we can learn through repeated attempts at doing. Our experiences in life give us opportunities to learn from them almost every day–you just need to learn how to capitalize on them. Diana Laufenberg offered a great Ted Talk (embedded below) on how to learn from your mistakes.
While mistakes certainly aren’t the only thing worth learning from, they do present excellent opportunities to discover what you don’t know. So next time you make a mistake, recognize it and learn from it!