11 Unique Ways to Continue Your Education

See also: Personal Development Planning

Whether you consider yourself a lifelong learner or you’re looking to harness new skills for your career, there are many diverse ways to continue your education beyond enrolling in a university or college. Today, the internet makes learning easier and more accessible than ever.

Developing soft skills like critical thinking, communication and teamwork is particularly useful as you embark on your educational journey. Often, traditional academic programs do not help students evolve these essential skill sets despite how highly beneficial they are in life and work.

Explore these 11 unique ways to continue your education:

1. Consume Educational Content

Consuming content about the topics you are interested in is one of the easiest ways to expand your knowledge and sharpen your skills. A major upside of social media that is often overlooked is having free access to many amazing educational resources at your fingertips.

A few examples of valuable free content include:

  • YouTube: This video platform offers millions of educational videos about all types of industries. TED Talk videos are a particularly incredible tool for harnessing soft skills and learning more about self-development.

  • Podcasts: Podcasting has exploded in popularity over the last few years. You can find endless shows and episodes about educational topics from industry leaders and experts.

  • TikTok: Learning on the go is fun and easy with TikTok. You can find creators that specialize in certain topics or fields and explore different communities interested in the same topics as you.

2. Read or Listen to Informative Books

With educational books, you can familiarize yourself with new topics and learn at your own pace. You don’t have to read stuffy academic texts. You can gain new perspectives and understandings from all kinds of genres, from historical fiction to self-help. Reading is a great way to work on yourself and find new opportunities for growth.

Explore the following genres to see what piques your interest:

  • Mystery/thriller
  • Fantasy
  • Current events
  • Business
  • Literary fiction
  • Self-help
  • Romance
  • Science fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Biography
  • Essay
  • Memoir

If you find it challenging to stick with your reading goals, consider joining a book club to hold yourself accountable and discuss the details of each book with others. For those who don’t have the time or patience to sit down with a book, consider listening to audio versions in the car, on a walk or when you’re doing work around the house.

3. Visit a Museum or Participate in a Guided Tour

You can also take yourself on an exciting field trip to a museum or gallery. A quick online search can help you discover collections and exhibits related to your interests. For example, if you’re interested in art, you can find a local art museum. Some museums have virtual tours and exhibits to explore from home as well.

Guided tours can offer more detailed information about a particular topic or time period. Whether you sign up for a guided museum, battlefield or city tour, there are many opportunities to learn from people who are well-versed in different subjects.

4. Learn a New Language

Learning a new language is on many people’s bucket lists. However, you don’t have to take a class or hire a tutor to start speaking a new language — all of the necessary tools are accessible from your laptop or smartphone. Online programs like Babbel or Duolingo allow you to take lessons on your time via an app. They are also more affordable than most in-person language courses.

5. Take Classes or an Online Course

You can take classes even if you are not a full-time college or university student. There are endless courses and learning opportunities available for non-students, including:

  1. Photography classes.
  2. Creative writing workshops.
  3. Acting classes.
  4. Classical studies.
  5. Business seminars.

Taking a class is an excellent way to explore a topic in greater depth. Some educational institutions offer non-degree certificates for individuals who don’t want to commit to a full course load.

6. Watch Documentaries and Interviews

Those documentaries you watch on Netflix before bed offer more than entertainment. When you watch them, you gain a deeper understanding of a person, place or topic. Plus, you can make a fun movie night out of it!

You might watch a nature documentary, learn about an important historical event or get an insight into an influential historical figure.

When you watch documentaries and interviews, you can learn from people with first-hand experience or expertise. If you stumble upon a subject that interests you, you can also read related articles to dive deeper.

Whether you’re interested in exploring current events, self-development, social issues or historical figures, documentaries and interviews are incredible educational resources.

7. Explore New Cultures

Travel is one of the richest educational experiences available for dedicated lifelong learners. If you are looking to continue studying beyond traditional schooling, consider saving up for a vacation where you can explore a new culture and become immersed in its traditions.

Traveling somewhere new doesn’t have to break the bank. Instead, explore inexpensive vacation ideas in your desired destination. When you get your travel plans together and find local accommodations, you can dedicate the rest of your trip to learning more about the culture.

8. Engage with the News

Staying current with the news allows you to continuously gain new perspectives and knowledge. Consider taking time each day to comb through important headlines or sitting down to watch the latest news stories with your coffee each morning.

Engaging with the news allows you to make more informed decisions and learn about topics you may have otherwise not explored. You could learn about a current event that inspires you to further research the subject matter.

9. Find a Mentor or Conduct Informational Interviews

Mentorship is an incredibly valuable learning experience. If you are interested in understanding an industry, business or cause better, reach out to someone who is respected in their field and politely request an informational interview.

You can learn how they got to where they are and ask burning questions about their work. If you’re lucky, you may connect with someone who becomes your mentor for ongoing learning opportunities.

10. Volunteer

Volunteering is an incredible tool for expanding your horizons, giving back to your community and learning valuable interpersonal skills that will help you in other areas of your life. The information and insights you can gain from donating your time to a cause may be one of the most educational experiences you will have in this lifetime.

Find a cause that is meaningful to you and allow yourself to absorb the experience. You may wind up sharpening soft skills, such as:

  • Effective communication.
  • Leadership.
  • Empathy.
  • Project management.
  • Time management.
  • Working with others.

11. Attend a Conference or Webinar

Attending a conference or signing up for a webinar is another awesome way to continue your education. Attending these events is especially beneficial for people looking to take their careers to the next level and meet others with shared interests.

You can learn exclusive details about the work of industry professionals and leaders. Hearing from practitioners in your field will help you uncover interesting new trends and findings that you may otherwise not have known.

Seek New Education Opportunities

Educational opportunities are always around the corner for people who want them and are willing to get a little creative. Explore some of these options to further your education!

About the Author

Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life.

When Ava is not writing you'll find her in a yoga class, advocating for body positivity, whipping up something delicious in the kitchen, or smashing the patriarchy.