How to Be a Lifelong Learner

Sep 15, 2021

It’s back-to-school season! Even though school days might be in the past for many of us, that doesn’t mean we need to stop learning! It’s great to be able to learn at your own pace, and without the pressure of obtaining a degree or diploma. Adult learning can be a lot of fun, and a great way to learn new skills and meet new people! Here are some of our tips for becoming a lifelong learner:

1. Think about what you’ve always wanted to learn, but maybe didn’t have time for in the past. Maybe you’ve always wanted to learn pottery, oil painting, creative writing, or how to create your own website! There are so many classes out there, there’s sure to be something for everyone!

2. Look up colleges in your area. Most colleges have Continuing Education departments that offer classes to the general public. These classes can lead to a diploma or certification, or can be taken just for fun! For example, the college near me offers adult Continuing Education classes in all kinds of subject areas such as horticulture, visual and media arts, business and personal finance, languages, interior decorating, culinary skills, and more! Many colleges also offer classes online, if you would prefer to learn from home!

3. Some universities will also let you “audit” or listen to certain classes without being formally enrolled at the school. This is where a certain number of people are allowed to attend lectures just for personal interest, without having to take the class for credit. You usually have to apply and may still have to pay a fee, but some universities make these opportunities available to seniors for free! It can be a great way to listen to interesting lectures without the pressure of tuition or a final exam.

4. Try art or music classes at a local school. If you’re interested in art or in learning to play an instrument, these types of schools will often offer small class sizes or one-on-one teaching. See what options are available near you! It’s never too late to start!

5. If you love to dance, why not look into adult dance classes? These classes can be a great way to have fun and let loose! Ballroom dancing, zumba, jazz – it’s a great way to spend an evening, and good for your health too!

6. If you’re in a rural or remote area without many schools nearby, don’t worry! There are so many great classes that can be taken online, and sometimes even for free! Here are a couple of my favourite places to take classes online:

Coursera: Coursera offers classes in all kinds of subject areas, and many of their courses are offered by university lecturers. Some of their courses require fees to complete, but they also have free courses that you can take at your own pace. One of their popular free courses is Indigenous Canada, which is offered by the University of Alberta. This course is a great way to learn about Canada’s Indigenous history and Indigenous peoples. You can check it out here:

Skillshare: Skillshare also offers classes in many subject areas, but it is less academically-focused and teaches more creative and business skills, particularly in the areas of visual arts, design, illustration, photography, marketing, and writing. If you have ever thought about starting your own creative business, Skillshare would be great for you! It has many great classes about entrepreneurship, monetizing your creative skills, marketing your brand, freelancing, and more. It also has loads of classes that you can take just for fun, like how to paint with watercolours, or how to get started with photography. It has both a free version and a premium version that requires a monthly subscription. There is a great selection of classes at both levels! Check out Skillshare here:

7. Check out your local library. Many libraries offer great programs, from writing workshops to book clubs and computer classes! Many libraries are also currently offering virtual programs and classes that you can attend from the comfort of your home.

8. And finally, check out the learning opportunities that the WI has to offer! Get in touch with your local Branch to learn about their upcoming programs and educational opportunities! To find the Branch closest to you, check out our Find a Branch page at: FWIO also has more workshops coming up soon, so stay tuned for those! We will also be hosting Facebook learning sessions this September with help from the New Horizons for Seniors Program. Email if you are interested in attending!

We hope you found these tips useful! Learning is such a rewarding experience at any age, and it’s never too late to learn new skills! What new skills are you interested in learning? We’d love to hear from you!

By Kate at FWIO