Once you determine your own personal preferences for learning, you can make the limited time you have for learning much more effective. If you missed our learning styles inventories, here's a list of those resources:
Below is a list, inspired by Ron Gross, of ways in which you can learn whatever is next on your list of curiosities. Many are obvious, but it can be easy to get stuck in the rut of using just a handful of resources that are familiar to us. Branch out! Surprise yourself!
Studying at home by Marili Forastieri - Getty Images
Through the miracle of technology, you can take a class from just about anywhere in the world, about just about anything
in the world, at just about any time of the day or night, while wearing jammies in your living room. You can even earn a degree.
Exploring your online options should be one of the first things you do.
2. Join an online forum
Flying Colours Ltd - Getty Images
If you've found an online class to take, chances are good there will be a forum associated with the class where you can meet fellow students and discuss assignments, learnings, anything. Take advantage of this opportunity. Most forums, not just those associated with courses, can be places where you can ask questions and get advice.
Keep in mind that unmoderated forums can sometimes be contentious. People tend to be bolder than usual when anonymous. Simply remove yourself if this happens. There are plenty of helpful, friendly forums out there.
You can learn almost anything on the Internet today. Be careful, of course. Not everything you read is true, whether it's on the Internet or in any other published form. Be discriminating and check out anything that doesn't seem quite right to you.
Request more information from the sources you find that are reputable. You'll usually find email and physical addresses when you click on Contact Us.
10 Search Engines for Students
4. Attend a series of lectures
Gail Sheehy by Sandy Huffaker - American Society on Aging
My local university, Arkansas State University-Mountain Home
, has a wonderful lecture series called the Gaston Lecture Series. Best of all, it's free! Twice a year, the university brings interesting people in to talk about fascinating and sometimes controversial topics.
Check your local university, library, or community center for similar lecture series. It's amazing how much you can learn during one entertaining evening.
Digital Vision - Getty Images
No matter how great technology becomes, I predict that reading a real book, held in your hands, will always be a favorite way to learn something new. Libraries are hallowed halls of learning. Visit yours. I can almost guarantee you'll find something that fascinates you. Read a book!
6. Interview experts
Steve Cole - Getty Images
Nothing really compares to the experience of having a one-on-one conversation with an expert in whatever field rings your bell. If you know of an expert you would love to talk with, pick up the phone, call, and politely ask for an interview. You may be surprised by how willing they are to teach.
If you don't know anyone in your field, ask around, search the Internet, or pick up a trade journal. Find someone you'd like to talk with and contact them.
Check out No. 4 in this article on writing a research paper. It'll give you some helpful info on contacting experts for interviews.
7. View a DVD or documentary
8. Visit a museum
The Getty Museum in CA by David McNews - Getty Images
If it has been years since you visited a museum, treat yourself to one of the most fulfilling experiences you'll have had in a long, long time. Museums aren't just for field trips. They're fascinating places where you are sure to learn something new around every corner. Go.
9. Join a group
Andreas Pollock - Getty Images
I live in a retirement area, and a glance at the newspaper almost any day of the week will show you all kinds of interesting groups formed by people of like interest who get together to talk about and practice whatever it is they love. Some groups are formed by people who once lived in the same town. Some are about playing games/sports or restoring vehicles or philanthropy.
Groups are a great place to find people to learn from while you're having a whole lot of fun.
Comstock - Getty Images
There's something magical about putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard. Your subconscious awakens and contributes to whatever it is you want to say. Writing helps you understand what you've learned and what you still want to know. We've got 6 Tips
to get you started, and lots of other help with writing: