Learning was easy when we were young. We devoted 8 months of the year to full time learning; and our families were there to cheer us on every time we mastered a skill or got "Straight As" on a report card. Then as we went on to work, trade school, college or the armed services we continued to learn new skills. As adults the opportunities for learning begin to lessen though. Career and family responsibilities take center stage, vying both for our time and finances.
Yet keeping our brains active as we age is every bit as important as physical fitness per Harvard Medical School. Keeping our minds active now can help maintain brain function as we get closer to our senior years. You don't need to be attending college full time to challenge your brain though. Here are some cost-effective ways to keep learning:
1. Learn Chinese for $2 / Month
Chinese is spoken by more than a billion people. Domino Chinese is affordable and flexible and will doubtless make you more valuable as an employee. Online courses include lessons, live chatting practice and videos. You'll be able to check that box on job applications that asks if you are bilingual. Think how great it will look on your resume!
2. Learn How to YouTube
"YouTubers" are the folks that create the more successful videos, which are viewed, followed and in turn earn cash for the creator. They earn as much as $0.01 per view, which really adds up if your videos get shared on social media. Some of the most successful videos earn as much as $1,000 per 1 million views for their creators! Best of all, learning to YouTube is totally free! You will need to build a solid platform of viewers to make any money however. YouTubing isn't free money. It does take effort, but it can be a worthy side-hustle.
3. Master Microsoft Excel
Microsoft Excel has unlimited uses in both your home and professional setting. There are dozens of options for both online learning and classroom learning if you prefer a traditional classroom experience. LinkedIn offers an affordable and well-respected online course that can help you master pivot tables, data analysis, formulas and more. As of August 2019, your first month of the LinkedIn Excel course is FREE, and then $19.99 a month after that.
4. Improve Your Public Speaking
Public speaking skills are essential for sales, HR, management and supervisory positions. It's important for entrepreneurs too! You can take courses online for very little money or join Toastmasters International. It costs a total of $65: $45 to the International club and $20 to your local Toastmasters. Per their website "Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of clubs." They boast more than 350,000 members at over 16,000 clubs. In addition to great resume fodder, you'll have outstanding networking opportunities.
5. Attend Adult Ed at Your Local Community College
Every school is different, but you can usually find a good number of adult education courses at your local community college. You can pursue any number of arts, handicrafts, language, and lecture courses or build on your work skills like typing/keyboarding or speed reading. Classes are generally very affordable and allow you a chance to get out and socialize with like-minded folks.
By building your skill set as an adult you become more employable. You have the potential to earn some side cash, improve communication skills and just have fun with others!