The idea that learning and education end when you get your diploma is a dated and downright harmful thought. Today, it’s essential to keep learning, sharpening your skills, and acquiring new ones. The world is simply moving too fast for you to stay in one place and expect to succeed. Constant learning and improving is helpful to your personal and professional life.
If you have the time and resources to return to school for an advanced degree, that’s worth considering. However, there are many alternatives for you that aren’t very expensive or time-consuming. The following are five creative ways to learn and sharpen your skills at any age.
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Five creative ways to learn and sharpen your skills
1. Take Online Courses
There are now many options for online learning. There are plenty of degree programs in every possible subject. However, an easier and much cheaper option is to take advantage of the many online courses. Some of the top universities in the world now offer courses in everything from coding to foreign languages to social sciences. For example, Harvard Graduate School of Design now offers a free course called “The Architectural Imagination.”
There are new online courses appearing all the time. Pixar Animation Studios, famous for its creative animated movies, recently introduced a free online storytelling course, taught by leading filmmakers and available through the Khan Academy (where you can find many other courses, both free and paid). Symposium is an app that connects experts with anyone seeking new knowledge or sills online. There’s an expert waiting just around the corner ready to lend their advice and expertise. Sign up today through our website, or download the App (it’s FREE to sign up).
2. Listen and Learn
One of the most convenient ways to absorb new information is through your ears. What’s great about listening is that you can do it while traveling, exercising, or doing chores around your house. Audiobooks have been around for a while and are still a fun and easy way to learn. Many people enjoy listening to the latest thriller or romance novel. There’s nothing wrong with listening to books for pleasure. However, why not devote at least some of your listening time to subjects that educate and inspire you? Keep in mind, however, that quality fiction, such as classics, are often just as educational as nonfiction. You can find millions of books on Amazon, Audible, and other marketplaces. Additionally, many public libraries offer apps that let you borrow audiobooks (as well as e-books) for free.
Another convenient way to learn by listening is with podcasts. Many entrepreneurs and creative types have informative programs on topics such as business, entertainment, sports, and health. For example, Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, has a weekly podcast where he interviews experts in many fields.
3. Sharpen Your Mind With Games and Puzzles
Games are not only fun, they can also stretch your mind in new directions. Traditional games such as chess, backgammon, Go, and many card games are good for this purpose. Puzzles, including crossword puzzles, word jumbles, and the popular Sudoku games are all fun ways to use your brain.
If you prefer computer games, try some of the numerous games and apps that are specifically designed to make you smarter. Lumosity, for example, trains your brain in numerous ways and tracks your progress. The benefit of such apps and games is that you can use them on your mobile devices whenever you have spare time. You can also focus on games that work on specific functions, such as verbal, spatial ability, or numbers.
4. Learn From Movies and Videos
Most people enjoy watching TV, videos, and movies, but most of these are, at best, entertaining and often outright mind-numbing. Watching documentaries and educational videos, on the other hand, is a way to stay informed and increase your knowledge. The biggest challenge nowadays isn’t the lack of content but finding what’s worthwhile. The following are some places to look.
• If you subscribe to Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services, scroll down past the popular choices and search the documentaries.
• TED Talks – There are now all kinds of TED Talks, including TEDx, which are local versions of the main program. While you can’t, and probably don’t, want to watch all of them, you may find a few each month worth watching. The nice thing about them is that they’re short, letting you absorb quite a bit of information in 10 or so minutes.
• YouTube – Out of the millions of videos on YouTube and other video sites are tutorials on every conceivable subject.
• Libraries – Both public and college libraries have educational videos on all sorts of topics.
5. Study Something New
Most adult learners tend to focus on acquiring knowledge for a specific purpose. For example, you might study a new software program you need for work or learn Mandarin because you’re doing business in China. However, there are also benefits to learning something that’s not directly relevant to your business, career, or immediate practical needs. Learning in areas outside of your discipline and even comfort zone stimulates your creativity and may even improve certain brain functions.
• Play an instrument. If you learn as an adult, it’s doubtful you’ll ever be a star or even make money from it. But you’ll still reap the many benefits of playing music, such as enhanced cognitive function.
• Learn a language. Speaking another language is not only useful in our global economy, it’s another activity that stimulates your brain.
• Coding. Even if you don’t need coding for your job or business, it helps you better understand today’s technology. There are many free and economical ways to learn coding today, such as the aforementioned free online courses.
• Art. Any type of art, such as painting, photography, sculpting, or needlepoint, helps you express your creativity.
• Cooking. There are cooking classes everywhere now. This is another fun and creative pursuit that teaches you to think in new ways.
The key to success is continuous learning
These are just some of the possibilities for you to keep learning and improving your mind. Once you appreciate the benefits of learning, you’ll find many ways to absorb new skills and knowledge. The fact is, learning almost anything helps you stay sharp, expands your horizons, and keeps you engaged with life.
Now’s the time to start learning new skills. Connect with experts in different skill sets using a simple, easy-to-use platform, like Symposium. Symposium is a Live-steaming marketplace. On Symposium, coaches, teachers, professional athletes and many more experts are waiting to share their knowledge with you. No need to worry about technology, scheduling, or payments, symposium takes care of it all. Symposium’s design takes the stress out of learning online. Once you master a skill you can even share it with others and easily make money online. Sign up today online, or download the App.