You're never too old to develop new skills and learn new things. There are plenty of adult learning courses out there which you can sign up to, and there are plenty of advantages to doing so.
As we touched upon in our guide to hobbies for older people, adult learning courses help to keep your brain healthy as you're continuing to challenge it. The more the brain works in old age, the higher its defences are against the onset of dementia. Of course, learning a new skill and passing exams will provide you with an amazing sense of achievement too.
Not only are you developing new skills, but you're also meeting new people who have a common interest. Keeping your social network active in your older years is vital if you're to avoid feeling lonely or depressed. The busier your social calendar is, the happier you will be.
In today's post we'll share five examples of adult learning courses which you may like to try.
1. Computer Courses
As much as some of you might hate to admit it, computers make up a huge part of daily life. With modern technology seemingly taking over every single industry and social aspect of our lives, you may begin to feel left out or worry that your skills are no longer relevant.
Fortunately there are several adult learning courses available which focus on computer use. Depending how you wish to use your computer, you could develop your skills in the following areas:
- Using the Internet
- Social Media
- Microsoft Office - Word, Excel & PowerPoint
- Setting up your Computers
Understanding how to use a computer can change your life dramatically. If you're still working, you'll be able update your CV with new skills and go for jobs that you never thought you would. Being savvy on social media and emails will allow you to stay in contact with your loved ones and friends - no matter where they are in the world.
It never does any harm to know more than one language. Being able to speak multiple languages will help you out when you're enjoying your summer holidays or spontaneous weekends away. We've all had those awkward situations in Spain when you cannot understand the waiter or shopkeeper.
Most colleges and universities run yearly adult learning classes for languages so you'll easily be able to find one close to you. You'll be able to take your pick of your favourite language, whether it's French, Italian or Spanish - which are just a few examples.
We feel that it's this type of course where you're guaranteed to make new friends too. Perhaps you may even decide to travel with your new friends once you've become fluent in your chosen language.
A great skill to have is the art of sign language. Being able to communicate with those who are deaf or suffer from poor hearing is extremely helpful and rewarding. It may also benefit you if your hearing is beginning to worsen.
As we've already discussed in our hobby guide, cooking a fantastic meal will provide you with a great sense of achievement and feelings of happiness. Being able to provide your friends and family with a lovely meal is brilliant.
Going to cooking lessons can really help develop your skills in the kitchen, along with your knowledge of cultures from around the globe. On your course you'll discover new recipes and techniques in the kitchen and also learn how to eat healthy by avoiding certain foods. A good diet is vital in later life, and cooking nutritious meals for yourself can make all the difference to your health.
Cooking can also be fun once you've mastered techniques and learnt amazing recipes from around the world.
4. Maths & English
If you're looking to touch up or even develop skills within the Maths and English sector then now is the time. This is one of the most common adult learning courses chosen by older people as they look to improve on their basic Maths and English.
These courses are a brilliant way of keeping your brain active as you will be pushing yourself to memorise data on a weekly basis. It's highly-likely that you'll also have exams and coursework to complete too.
Again, if you're still working, completing courses in Maths and English will be a great boost to your CV. Learning English may also lead to other hobbies and interests such as reading books and journalism.
If you're feeling up for the challenge it is possible for you to complete GCSE Maths and English courses as well, leading to full qualifications.
5. Teaching and Training
If you're looking to get into teaching, tutoring or training then you can take part in these courses. These adult learning courses will help you to develop the skills which are essential if you're to plan, prepare and provide learning within your specialist area.
Before going into these courses it's best to have some idea of which subject you'd like to teach and to be working towards a qualification within that area. Teaching assistant courses are also available if you're looking to head down this route.
Finding Adult Learning Courses
There are multiple ways of finding adult learning courses in your area. If you're already comfortable using the internet you can search for them on Google or by visiting your local college or university website. Another good resource for you to check is the Learn Direct website, which is full of courses.
Alternatively, you can visit your local library where there will be details available or go down to your local college or university and make enquires in person. There may also be adverts in your local newspaper for learning classes and events near you.
A third option would be to ask your family and friends, as they may be able to recommend useful courses for you to try.
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Editor's Note: This article was updated on 26th August 2021 to reflect current information.