Lifelong Learning Keeps Your Brain Working
I can think of no better way to keep your brain active that to commit to lifelong learning. So many of us finish school, college or university and don’t give further learning another thought. It’s unfortunate that we forget all about the joy of learning.
It’s also true that many of us never saw learning as a joy in the first place and this can color our memories of our early educational experience. However there is a vast difference between learning as an adult and learning when you are younger. To start with you are not being forced to learn. This gives you so much more freedom than you would have felt when you were younger.
When you embark on a path of lifelong learning as an adult you have much more choice in what you learn. This gives you the freedom to choose exactly what subjects or skills you want to develop and at what level you are prepared to learn. You may choose to take on the seemingly daunting task of studying at university level or you may prefer to enroll in a community class so that you can learn about something enjoyable in an environment where you have the support of other learners.
You’ll probably find that once you start more formal learning it can be hard to stop and you’ll want to learn more and more. Learning makes life so much more interesting. It can expand your interest in a whole lot of other things that are going on around you. They don’t even need to be related to what you are learning. This probably occurs because you’ve started to develop a thirst for knowledge and suddenly you can’t get enough. You’ll come across a random topic and find that you are searching for more information on it simply because it interests you, whereas previously you may have just let it pass.
Another great side effect of lifelong learning is that it often promotes tolerance of others. If someone puts forth an idea you’ll be more likely to weigh up the pros and cons of the idea to decide how you feel about it rather than jumping to an automatic conclusion. You may still reject the idea but this type of analysis brings respect for the person putting it forward regardless of your opinion of the topic.
I hold great belief in distance or online education because it enables you to learn even if you don’t live close to the learning institution and it means you can often learn at a time that suits you. Distance education spreads learning opportunities far and wide. It opens a new world to those who may not have had access previously. Through it I hope that many others will see the benefit of lifelong learning.