Lifelong learning online

In recent years there has been more and more emphasis placed on lifelong learning and adult education. People are returning to college as mature students because it can be a wonderful opportunity for personal growth and development.

It is never too late to learn: maybe something you’ve always been curious about, something you’ve just taken an interest in, or maybe something that was overlooked in your youth — whatever the case, it’s worth looking into.

The first step is choosing a topic. With today’s technology, researching your area of interest can be a breeze — a simple Internet search engine can give you a vast array of information at your fingertips.

Online learning could be the best option for you with benefits such as cost effectiveness, convenience, global access, and flexibility. Many online schools are offering courses that are designed specifically with mature learners in mind. You may want to take classes to get up to speed with computers, to learn a second language, to work towards a degree or diploma, or to develop a new hobby or pastime. And remember, you don’t have to be a computer genius to succeed. Most online institutions realize that students may not initially have a lot of technical know how and offer support such as introductory computer courses, expert instructional support, and toll-free technical support.

Learning online has many benefits, but keep in mind that because you work independently the responsibility of learning the material rests solely on you; to excel, students have to be self-motivated and organized. Here are a few techniques and tips to help you study efficiently and, in turn, excel in your online education:

Create a study space – Find a space in your house that you can use exclusively for studying — somewhere free of distractions, where you have some privacy.

Take time when you can get it – Although it is usually ideal to follow a routine and have a certain study time each day, often it can be difficult to stick with such a routine. So, it’s important to take time when you can get it — early morning before other family members get up, while dinner is cooking, or late at night.

Silence your phone – Don’t be afraid to turn your phone off (or at least keep it on vibrate). You don’t have to be available every minute of the day — study time is your time!

Talk it out – When you study, don’t just read your notes over, try to say them aloud. Read a section, summarize it in your own words and say it aloud to yourself. This helps you process and retain the information — you can’t summarize something unless you understand it.

You’ve probably spent most of your life doing things for others: your parents, your spouse, your children, (added comma) and your employers. Now it’s your time to do something you’ve always wanted but didn’t have the time for. With the time to devote, you can start a whole new outlook on life!

Photo ©iStockphoto.com/ H-Gall

Article courtesy of OWL 55+. Check out their website for stimulating learning programs and training courses to improve your intellectual well-being and enrich life experiences. Programs are geared for older, wiser learners.

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