I recently saw the film “Life of the Party” starring Melissa McCarthy. She plays a mom (Deanna) who has just sent her daughter to college. As she leaves the school after dropping her daughter off, Deanna’s husband lays a bomb that he’s been having an affair and wants a divorce. Deanna decides to go back to college and joins her daughter, much to her kid’s chagrin. It ends up that all the girls in the sorority including her daughter love having her there and proves that it’s never too late for life-long learning.
Of course, Melissa is too young to be a Baby Boomer but it’s not too unusual these days to see students in college at any age. Some get degrees well into their 90s with the availability of student loans that make college accessible to anyone. Life-long learning of any kind keeps us young, engaged, and relevant. If you don’t want to register and attend a college physically, and possibly be the oldest student in the class, there are plenty of online sites where you can learn from the comfort of your home.
There may not be any sorority parties to attend (like Melissa did in the film), but you can add to your current career credentials, learn something new, or even start a business with the knowledge you learn. We all know Baby Boomers are not always able to enjoy the traditional retirement scenario. I know I’m not. After a life pursuing an acting career and the struggles of single motherhood, a plush life of fun and leisure would only be possible if I meet a rich sugar daddy who isn’t into sweet young things. Somehow, I don’t see that in the cards right now, LOL.
Here are some online life-long learning sites you may want to check out
College classes to up your credentials
edX – This site connects you to courses given by top-tier universities that include Harvard, Berkeley, University of Texas, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Sorbonne, and Boston University. You can earn MicroMaster’s Certificates, Professional Certificates, XSeries Programs, and University credits in a huge array of subjects. Their most popular course is called “The Science of Happiness.” Some follow a fixed schedule and others are self-paced so you can complete them at your leisure.
There are 1900+ courses and the site serves 14 Million + learners worldwide.
The Edx mission:
At edX, we take our mission of increasing global access to quality education seriously. We connect learners to the best universities and institutions from around the world. Join us!
The Great Courses – You can purchase DVD sets and books on this impressive site. I currently have their “Art of Travel Photography,” “Writing Creative Nonfiction,” and Great Tours: Experiencing Medieval Europe courses. Courses are given by university professors other professionals in their fields. Courses run the gamut of knowledge and include Better Living, Science, History, Fine Arts, Economics, Literature, Philosophy, Religion, Music, Math, High School and Professional. I was happy with what I received and believe it’s worth the investment.
Learn from masters in their field
Masterclass – This amazing site offers classes by some of the world’s greatest minds. Can you imagine taking a photography class from Annie Leibovitz or learn to direct with Ron Howard? How about a cooking class from Gordon Ramsay, Screenwriting by Aaron Sorkin or Comedy with Steve Martin? This is the caliber of classes that are offered. You can get an all-access pass for $180 per year.
Learn tech skills and tons of other stuff
The Shaw Academy – The Shaw Academy’s online professional training courses cover a wide range of subjects—including Financial Trading, Photography, Personal Nutrition, Digital Marketing, Social Media & more. Led by expert tutors with professional experience in their field, courses are suitable for all experience levels and include live lectures and interactive experiences.
Udemy – Baby Boomers are reinventing themselves into all sorts of post-retirement businesses and many are working online. You can learn tech skills such as website design, social media, IT, computer software, business skills, as well as photography, health, self-improvement, languages, music, test prep and just about anything on Udemy. They have a library of over 65,000 online learning courses at reasonable prices. Work at your own pace. You can even learn using their fabulous phone app.
Improve your writing and even get paid
Great Escape Publishing – If you have a desire to become a freelance writer I recommend you take a course from Great Escape Publishing. I attended their travel writer’s workshop in Denver and not only learned a ton but met amazing people, some of whom have written posts on this blog and have become online friends. I decided to stick with blogging but my writing has improved because of it. Many of my classmates are now award-winning writers who write for a variety of publications both print and online. Great Escape’s courses are not cheap, but certainly worth it in both content and contacts.
Become a blogger – I’ve been blogging since 2008 and taught myself how to set up sites on WordPress. I started a business helping other people to do it in 2010. Now, I not only set up websites but also tutor those who want to learn how to use their WordPress site to fit their individual needs. For more information, click here.
DIY and crafts
Bluprint (formerly Craftsy) will teach how to create handmade crafts and goods. It has online courses for sewing, knitting, cake decorating, baking, crochet, embroidery, photography, paper crafts, woodworking, weaving, spinning, dance, fitness, yoga, art, and home decorating. Their site is a DIY paradise for those who are creative and love to work with their hands. You can also purchase craft kits, supplies, and patterns.
Choose an individual class or sign up to subscribe to their unlimited program with a 7-day free trial.
Enlighten yourself and teach others
The Chopra Center offers classes and teaching opportunities in meditation, Ayurveda, and coaching. You can learn online or attend one of their retreats. The Chopra Center is located at the Omni La Costa Resort and Spa in Carlsbad, California near San Diego.
Gaia – If you are a seeker, dreamer, or interested in the evolution of your consciousness, Gaia provides video programming for spiritual growth, alternative health, personal development, and expanded consciousness. Develop your intuition, learn about ancient civilizations and cultures, relieve stress and even delve into the occult.
Just the facts, Ma’am, only the facts
Part of life-long learning is knowing what’s going on in the world. As we all know, we’re being bombarded with alternative facts. It may be easy to hide your head in the sand but it’s important to stay engaged, vote, and be aware of things that can have a major impact on your life. Market Watch has put out a list of news sites illustrated in a graph that shows which ones lean left, right, center, are opinion based or straight out propaganda. You can view it here. To get the most accurate information, it’s best to stay in the green zone.