Back to school season is upon us! Aka not a thing for me since I have a 1 year old but that time of year that I feel the jealous pang of everyone going back to school (especially all those college kids — ENJOY THOSE YEARS!!). In last week’s post where I went all geeky about office supplies, I talked about how I loved school SO MUCH ever since I set foot in kindergarten many, many decades ago. Today I want to talk about ways to keep learning as an adult outside of school.
I loved learning and that never stopped even when I graduated from college. I know there’s an opportunity to learn things all around me and school has its flaws but, man, did I love the immersive and focused learning that happened every day. I loved pouring over my textbooks. I loved finding things to be interested in. I just LOVED LEARNING — even through the boring bits.
I realize I’m a nerd. Totally and unabashedly. But I LOVE LEARNING. I want to keep learning always!
A few years after I graduated college in 2008 I was feeling a slump every August. It wasn’t just the jealousy towards people heading off to college that I had become accustomed to ever since graduating but something different that was bugging me.
It dawned on me what it was — I missed learning! Sure, I was employed part-time and I was still reading books but I was not at ALL satisfying my thirst for knowledge and the natural curiosity I had. I was so used to learning things ALL THE TIME from school that I hadn’t been super proactive about it.
I knew I had to change that because I hated the feeling of not actively LEARNING things so I found ways to keep learning as an adult.
So maybe that is you too? You want to satisfy that thirst for learning and find ways to learn outside of school! You want to know things! You want to have interesting conversations!
I wanted to share all the ways I’ve figured out how to keep learning now that I’m not in school.
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- 1 12 Ways To Keep Learning As An Adult
- 1.1 1. READ A BOOK
- 1.2 2. LISTEN TO PODCASTS
- 1.3 3. CHECK OUT THE GREAT COURSES
- 1.4 4. TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY
- 1.5 5. TAKE A CLASS IN YOUR AREA:
- 1.6 6. ATTEND A LECTURE OR A WORKSHOP
- 1.7 7. TRAVEL
- 1.8 8. JOIN SOME SORT OF CLUB
- 1.9 9. THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
- 1.10 10. YOUTUBE
- 1.11 11. TAKE AN ONLINE COURSE
- 1.12 12. WATCH DOCUMENTARIES
- 2 Pin to remember all these ways to keep learning
12 Ways To Keep Learning As An Adult
1. READ A BOOK
OBVIOUSLY being a book lover I’m going to say this. But READ A BOOK. Books are my favorite ways to keep learning. You don’t even have to spend money on them to have access to literally any subject you could ever want to learn about if you go to the library (a place I love for many, many reasons). Pre-Riley I was trying to pick a subject every month or two that I wanted to learn about and then getting books on it. Pretty much my non-fiction reading since she was born has been all baby and parenting books but I will say I’ve even found fascination in learning some of the things about baby sleep and development so STILL LEARNING.
If you need some recommendations check out this list of interesting non-fiction.
PRO-TIP: Audiobooks are an amazing way to learn if you feel like you don’t have time to sit down with a book. I love listening to audiobooks on my commute or when I used to go on the treadmill. I either get my audiobooks from Audible or from my library’s Overdrive system.
2. LISTEN TO PODCASTS
I hate driving so this is one of my favorite ways to keep learning because I can make the time pass by in a productive way. I love listening to “fun” podcasts but I also really get into the ones where I can learn about random things and it TOTALLY fulfills my desire for learning about different subjects. I guarantee if you look up podcasts in any subject you are interested in, you will find a podcast that fits the bill!
Some of my favorites that I always end up learning from are:
Stuff You Missed In History Class — Always something interesting to learn on here! I LOVE history so it’s one of my favorites. When I’m not interested in a subject I will just go back in the archives and there’s always one that catches my fancy.
Stuff You Should Know — if you are that person who likes to know a little bit about a lot of things and loves dropping those fun facts to anyone who will listen, check this one out! I learn the most random things!
Simple Pin Podcast: I’m always learning about Pinterest from this one! If you are a blogger or a business owner, you should check it out.
Ted Talks Daily: Can’t go wrong with this podcast if you like to dabble and learn random things!
Science Vs: I’m not really a science-y person but this one is fascinating and there are so many topics I’m interested in.
This American Life: Always very interesting!!
Pod Save America: Pretty much what I listen to to stay up on all things political. (Would love any recs for other good political or political history/basics type podcasts).
3. CHECK OUT THE GREAT COURSES
I am OBSESSED with The Great Courses and knew I had to include them if I was talking about ways to keep learning. They are basically college-level courses taught by professors or experts about soooooo many subjects, like thousands of subjects of like anything you can think of. I mean, you really could find them about everything. They also came out with a The Great Courses Plus which is the same except it’s an on-demand video subscription that you have access to a huge library of courses. I haven’t done (though I’m pretty interested in it) that but have done one-off courses.
4. TAKE UP A NEW HOBBY
I’m all about learning ABOUT things but I also love learning how to DO things and hobbies are a great way to do that. It’s being a beginner and learning from the ground up. I think hobbies are one of the greatest ways to keep learning that doesn’t necessarily feel like school learning.
Blogging has been THE BEST THING for me ever since I started in 2010. I have learned SO many things through blogging. I’m constantly learning new skills even all these years later. It keeps my brain fresh and I love how I’ve been able to build upon skills even years later. I’m ALWAYS learning new things and things are always changing which means I get to experiment and tinker which is fun for me.
My sister got into gardening in the past 2 years and I’ve LOVED seeing how much she has learned through the hobby and also how it has given her a ~thing~ that she loves outside of work and kids. And each year she’s learned something new about planting and harvesting to yield better results.
My friend recently told us she’s learned how to bake bread and now that’s her in thing she does every Saturday morning.
I’ve done yoga here and there through Yoga with Adriene. I LOVE her channel and I love learning how to move differently with yoga. And it’s FREE!
My point is there’s so many potential hobbies you could try to see what might catch your interest — jewelry making, a recreational sport, calligraphy, sewing, baking, photography, WHATEVER. Whatever you choose you will be learning things while doing it and may even feel compelled to learn more about whatever it is you are doing. Do it as a solo thing or as a group thing, who cares. Just dive into a new hobby you think you’d like to do.
5. TAKE A CLASS IN YOUR AREA:
I think taking a class, in anything, is a great way to learn — there’s accountability, you don’t have to try to gather the knowledge and the skills on your own and it feels a little bit like being back at school — in a good way.
My library offers all sorts of free programs and classes — I’m always kind of amazed! They do some where you have to pay a small fee to join but really your library is an amazing resource for different kinds of classes and programs and ways to keep learning.
Other places to check? Your local community center, any colleges near you (especially community colleges), the YMCA, local museums, etc. Think about what you like or would like to take a class and google things “cooking classes in my city” or “photography classes in my city.” I also keep my eye on places like Michaels or Home Depot or other retail places because sometimes there are free/cheap classes there.
PLUS it’s a great way to meet people!!
6. ATTEND A LECTURE OR A WORKSHOP
Sometimes I don’t want to or have time to do an immersive course or class but I have time to attend a one off lecture. I’ve been lucky living so close to so many colleges in the Philadelphia region that there are SO many that happen there, at libraries, museums and different centers. I like getting my toes wet into some subjects that sounds interesting. Well, at least I did pre-Riley. ONE DAY I WILL ATTEND THESE THINGS AGAIN.
I always learn so much through travel and it’s my FAVORITE out of all the ways to keep learning on this list (albeit the most expensive haha)!! I love exploring castles and listening to an audio tour or going on a walking tour of a city. I learn so much historically, culturally and in the life skills department.
I’m not saying that you have to travel around the world either! Even locally I like to check out any historical sites, museums or any sort of tours (we’ve done a couple local brewery/distillery tours and I always find that fascinating) . Check out your local tourism website and see what you can find locally or for a good day trip. Also different cultural events held in your town are a great experience to potentially learn something you never knew!
8. JOIN SOME SORT OF CLUB
One of the most fun ways to keep learning! I feel like I really do love learning from other people in a casual way and clubs are a great way to do that. Maybe you love film but you want to learn more and discuss with other people? There’s probably a club for that or you could start your own! Maybe you want to work on building your own business…find or start a book club where you and other local entrepreneurs read and discuss business books. I feel like I learn A LOT from people as we all have different expertise areas and life experiences.
9. THERE’S AN APP FOR THAT
I mean, we are all glued to our phones anyways, amirite? One of my favorite apps that I’ve used for YEARS is Duolingo. I’ve worked on my Spanish so often with that app. This app makes it fun to learn a new language!
Check out something you might want to learn and see if there is an app for that! Even something like a daily word of the day app is learning, ya know! Our phone gives us access to so many ways to keep learning — just take 5 minutes to search.
One of the easiest ways to keep learning because it’s free and we are all probably on Youtube at least once a day. One of my favorite channels is Crash Course by John Green & Hank Green. I learn SO MUCH STUFF from them. Just the way they explain stuff is great and I feel like I get a good grip on a subject in a short time. SO many fascinating crash courses in their archives. HIGHLY recommend.
Also my go-to move on Youtube is literally searching what I want to learn and I pretty much always find stuff. I have done so much random coding stuff for this site and I’ve even learned how to cut certain fruit properly. YOUTUBE IS A WONDERFUL PLACE FOR LEARNING.
11. TAKE AN ONLINE COURSE
I have taken a few blogging related courses and I’ve taken a couple other random ones and it’s so nice to be able to do things on my own time when I want to. There are SO many places to get great online courses — both free and ones you have to pay for. Such as:
I personally like Udemy and Coursera but I’ve also watched stuff on ITunesU. I just checked out TedED recently and have found some interesting courses I want to go through! But there so many individual sites that offer courses in just about anything.
12. WATCH DOCUMENTARIES
I love, love love watching documentaries and they are one of my favorite ways to keep learning. Such a great way to learn something in a short time period in a less classroom-y setting. Plus I love movies/tv so it’s a nice relaxing way to learn. I typically watch documentaries through Netflix or my library but I would love ideas of other places to watch them for decently cheap!
I think it’s super important to keep actively learning once we leave school and there are so, so many ways to keep to keep learning that are easy and part of our every day life. Hopefully you’ll find something that piques your interesting in my list of ways to keep learning.
I’d love for you to share 1) your favorite ways to keep learning outside of formal education and 2) did you love school or not so much? Favorite/least favorite subjects? 3) What’s something cool you learned about/learned how to do lately??
Pin to remember all these ways to keep learning