Once you are out of your 20s it is difficult to keep learning. Many adults want to continue their education but are too busy with everything else in their life. The two primary time restraints are working or starting a family. In addition, you need time for hobbies, relaxation and socialization. If you end up with time to yourself, you may be too tired to effectively learn anything.
One of the mistake adults make when they want to learn something is believing the only way to learn is through a school. There are many resources to learn on your own without having to take classes. If you are learning for work, your job may offer time off or provide funds to send you back to school or attend a training seminar. If you want to learn for personal reasons, there are options available to you, even with your busy schedule.
Utilize the Internet
The internet is typically thought of as an entertainment resource, but it is a good educational resource as well. There are countless experts sharing their knowledge for free across the internet, both in written and video form. The biggest risk with online learning is making sure the information you read or watch is true. Cynics are quick to point out anyone can publish their own website or claim to be an expert on a subject in a video, which is technically true. You do not want to become too jaded regarding the internet, so keep an open mind when looking for online courses. Take the time to look for sources to back up whatever article you read or video you watched. Check the author of the article to see if he or she is accredited. Many authors share their academic credentials or professional certifications to validate their work.
If you want to learn more about a hobby, there is bound to be a YouTube video for beginners. YouTube is a good place to learn about using various computer programs, such as Word, Excel or Photoshop. These types of videos are especially good to learn from, since you can directly see what the instructor is doing and do not have to worry about him or her making up the information.
One of the ways you can learn new skills is building the lessons into your work. Employee education is different from your work paying for you to go to school to take college courses. Employee education refers to using work resources to hire an instructor to come to your workplace to teach the employees a type of skill. The types of classes largely depend on where you work. If you are in an office, software or data analysis classes are common. If you get creative, you may be able to come up with different ideas, such as inviting a vocal coach to help with giving presentations. Some companies bring in fitness instructors to help promote personal health and to reduce stress. Other companies offer free first aid seminars.
Use Audio Learning
Audiobooks are a good way to learn if you have a busy schedule. Many employees use their long commute as a chance to listen to an audiobook or an informative podcast. If you are good at multitasking, you can listen to audiobooks when you are performing your day to day tasks, such as cleaning up around the house or going grocery shopping. There are many websites where you can subscribe to an audio library, so you do not have to worry about how expensive it is to purchase individual books to add to your collection. All you need is your phone and a pair of headphones to access your audio library.
Enroll in an Online Class
If you learn best in a classroom setting but do not have the time or energy to take college classes, consider enrolling in an online course instead. Online courses provide similar lessons to traditional college classes. The biggest differences are you have more freedom with your schedule and do not have to commute to class. It is important to note, online classes are much more flexible than traditional college classes, but there are still deadlines associated with the classes. If you are genuinely interested in online classes, make sure your schedule is not too busy where you may have to drop the class for long stretches of time.
Learn from a Mentor
One of the ways to work more learning into your life is to combine learning with socializing. When you look for a mentor, seek out someone you can build a strong personal connection with. If your friends are knowledgeable in a subject you want to learn more about, approach him or her about being your mentor. If you have struggled to maintain friendships because of your busy schedule, asking a friend to become a mentor may lead to a revitalized friendship. If you do not have any friends to act as a mentor, consider the following places to find a mentor:
- Managers or senior employees at work.
- Networking events.
- Alumni groups.
Learn from the Culture Around You
Another way to learn on a busy schedule is to embed yourself in your culture. If you have a family, take them to museums in the area. Most museums feature guest speakers throughout the year, in addition to all the information you learn from the exhibits. Colleges frequently host unique guest speakers and shows as well. The majority of these events are open to the public, but you may have to pay an entrance fee or purchase tickets if you are not actively attending the college or are alumni. Many colleges and museums have newsletters you can sign up for to stay up to date with the newest lectures
If your friends or family are interested in learning with you, consider watching documentaries as a group. Not only do you get the opportunity to learn and socialize, but it can help you learn to have a group to speak with, similar to what you find in a traditional educational setting.
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