Go Back to School – Tuesday Tip – September 4, 2018

For some of us, the first week of September inevitably turns our thoughts to going back to school.  If you’re like me, shorter days and the promise of turning leaves and crisper air to come conjures up thoughts of blank notebooks, new pens and pencils, and pristine books full of new things to learn.

Learning in retirement is one of the keys to cognitive health and successful aging and, fortunately, resources to support learning in retirement are abundant in 2018 America.  Here are three ways to get started:

Join a Lifelong Learning Institute

Join a Lifelong Learning Institute:  There are more than 400 Lifelong Learning Institutes (LLIs) in the United States and Canada so chances are there’s one near you.  At an LLI experts—often retired professors—and members with a passionate avocation lead classes and outings on subjects ranging from Middle Eastern politics and Shakespeare’s plays to yoga and birthwatching.  LLIs are a great bargain and a great way to blend socializing with learning.  I wrote about LLIs in an earlier Tuesday Tip and you can read that blog post here.

Watch an Online Lecture Series

Watch an online lecture series:  In our digital world there are abundant fee and free resources for learning in retirement.  The Great Courses company has hundreds of multi-lecture courses available in both audio and video formats, ranging in cost from less than $50 to well over $200.  If you’re looking for free lectures, however, a great place to start is at on a website called Open Culture.  Open Culture has a fascinating blog with new content daily as well as links to 1,300 free online courses, 1,000+ MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), 1,150 free movies, 1,500 free audio and ebooks, and much more.

“Borrow” College Syllabuses.

“Borrow” college syllabuses:  If you want to dive deeply into a specific subject of your interest, sharpen up your Googling skills and dig into the world of college syllabuses posted online.  A good college syllabus will give you lists of books and articles you might never find on Amazon or with a more general internet search. Let’s pick a subject at random and see what pops up…  Since I’m writing this on Labor Day, how about: Women in the Workforce and Labor Movement. A straightforward internet search brought me to two syllabuses (click on the links to reach the syllabuses):  A course at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro called “Gender and History:  U.S. Women’s Labor History,” and a course at New York University called “Women and Men in the Workplace.”  With some creative searching you can find syllabuses on almost any subject imaginable.

Happy September!  Happy lifelong learning!     

(More Tuesday Tips here.)