Adult Education: Learn Something New Today!

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They say that you can't teach an old dog new tricks. But as numerous studies have borne out, you apparently can. More importantly, adult learners stand to gain so much more when they go on a quest for further education. Learning new skills not only opens up new career opportunities, it also builds up self-esteem, keeps minds sharp, and moods happy!

How do we keep our brains churning? There are different ways by which we can learn a new skill. Here are some of them:

#1 Take classes

This is the traditional way of getting an education. Go back to university. If you're not up to working for your Master's degree, then take a few audit classes to help you get into the college groove. Of course, there are other learning institutions where you can take a course or two like SoFA Design Institute for fashion and design, Photo World Manila for photography, Young Artists' Studio for drawing, sculpture, and video production, and Enderun Extension for culinary, pastry, and entrepreneurship, among others.

#2 Teach yourself

Another way of revving up your skills set is by going online, and learning new stuff by yourself. You've probably heard of an anecdote or two of people learning how to play the guitar or do makeup through YouTube. Well, you can do that too. Here are other sites which you might want to check out: eHow, MAKE Magazine, Lifehacker, Work.com, Howcast, VideoJug, and Zen Habits.

#3 Just do it!

Last but not least, just go ahead and do it! According to the Learning Pyramid, students retain 90 percent of what they teach someone else or do immediately, 75 percent of what they do, 50 percent of what they discuss, 30 percent of what they see, 20 percent of what they see and hear, 10 percent of what they read, and 5 percent of what they hear. When we practice what we've learned, we start making mistakes, which help in pointing us towards the right way of doing things. So go ahead, read your books, listen to lectures, and do your research. But afterwards, when you've figured out the ABCs, just do it!

Free online courses The Internet is a treasure trove for learners looking to pick up a new skill. Here, some websites offering courses for free!

1. Speak better. Take the University of Washingtonโ€™s Introduction to Public Speaking. Check out www.coursera.org/learn/public-speaking 2. Read faster. Improve your reading skill and comprehension through Spreeder, a free online program. Check out www.spreeder.com

3. Learn to code. Harvard University is offering an introduction to computer science course online for free. Check out its Code Academy at www.edx.org/course/introduction-computer-science-harvardx-cs50x

4. Learn to draw. Pick up a sketchbook with confidence by learning the ABCs of drawing at www.drawspace.com.

5. Pick up a new language. At Duolingo, learn how to speak French, Italian, and Spanish for free. Go to www.duolingo.com.

This story first appeared in Urban Mom magazine.

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