How to Be a Lifelong Learner

How to Be a Lifelong Learner

When school is over, education isn’t.

Learning is a lifelong pursuit that can continually improve your ability to adapt to new situations, problem solve, and react to life’s challenges with wisdom. Practicing learning as an ongoing activity will prevent boredom, keep your brain sharp, enrich your life, and increase self-esteem. Your new knowledge may even lead to a promotion, entrepreneurship idea, or other unexpected perks.

Because not all learning comes in the form of a college course or formal exam, you can keep learning a little bit every day with these easy and affordable strategies.


Online Courses from Major Universities

You don’t need to be enrolled at a university to reap the benefits of their class selection. Many reputable colleges and universities offer free or reasonably-priced online courses through their websites or sites like So sign up and take a financial course from Columbia, explore public health with a class from Johns Hopkins, or learn more about evolution with the American Museum of Natural History. You probably spend a few hours browsing the Internet at home each day anyway, so why not make the most of this time and absorb some new and fascinating information in your area of interest.

Podcasts in Your Car

Enrich your daily commute with podcasts that you can listen to in the car. You’ll find podcasts for nearly any interest, whether you want to brush up on your history or get some innovative new cooking ideas for dinner tonight. Subscribe to a diverse selection of podcasts and you can experience something new every day. Since podcasts are often free to download, you can try out any topic, whether you’re familiar with it or hearing about it for the first time. You never know what new interests you may discover.

Local Library Programs

Get to know your local library and you may be surprised at the offerings. From cooking classes to foreign languages, many libraries offer an extensive range of subjects. If you live in the library’s area, these classes are often free of charge. Courses on technology are particularly common. If you’re looking for a new job or ready for a promotion, explore courses in Microsoft Office or resume writing.

Book clubs are another excellent way to broaden your horizons. Not only will you benefit from the opportunity to read novels you may not otherwise have chosen, you’ll get to enrich the experience by sharing your thoughts with others and hearing how different readers interpreted the text in various ways.

Meetup Groups is a great site for social learners. If you work best in a group, explore your local Meetup options. Foodies can find like-minded friends who are anxious to taste the town, learning about new dishes and wines along the way. Amateur artists can join with others to share skills and techniques. If you don’t see a group for your interest, consider starting one yourself. You may be surprised at how many people share your preferences.

Educational Apps

Add some new apps to your smartphone or tablet and you can uncover a whole world of learning opportunities. Duolingo helps you learn a new language. Book Quiz will test your knowledge of literary works. Download The World Factbook to expand your knowledge of other countries from the comfort of your couch. With push notifications enabled on your device, many of these apps will even prompt you to keep up with your pursuit of knowledge, so you’ll check in daily and continue expanding your knowledge base.


Documentaries can get a bad reputation for being dry and boring, but many of today’s films are anything but. Check your local television guide for a documentary that fits your interests and sit down with some popcorn to really take it in. There are also many documentaries on streaming video services like Netflix. Whether you want to learn more about wildlife or find out what all the controversy is about with fast food, you can delve deeper with well-produced documentaries.

Continual learning is just one way that you can boost your confidence and self-esteem, make yourself more adaptable to change, and challenge your mind. For more tips on how you can improve your life, educate yourself, and continue to grow as a person, check out our full series on discovering a life that you love.

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