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What Is Continuing Education And Why Is It Important?

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What Is Continuing Education And Why Is It Important?

In our world of information overload, the question “what is continuing education?” is a very common one. Depending on the individual and situation, it can also mean a variety of things that range across the education spectrum.

What Is Continuing Education?

Continuing education is an all-encompassing term that describes a variety of formal and informal learning activities and methods.

For example, at one end of the spectrum, we have courses and certifications that enabled you to further develop your skills and knowledge in specific areas of your career or profession. At the other end of the spectrum, we have much simpler activities such as reading or attending seminars which you can also utilize to great effect to continue educating yourself.

There is no right or wrong option here. The real goal is figuring out which option works best for you and how you can apply it to your daily life.

In the end, self-education comes down to your pursuit of acquiring knowledge or developing skills.

Keep in mind that continuing education ranges from getting the requirements to take that next step in your professional life, to learning and pursuing research based on your interests.

Throughout the process of education, we begin to adopt the idea that we can only learn from authority figures, such as people with the appropriate credentials and accolades, or those who are given the title of teacher or professor.

This is an outdated opinion, especially given the contemporary world where most people already have access to so much relevant information at the tip of their fingertips.

There is something that can be learned from everyone and every experience that you have in your life. But to begin grasping those lessons, you first need to appreciate them.

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Imagine this scenario:

You are walking down the street in your home town and somebody stops you to have a quick conversation. However, you think you are busy so you avoid them. This is an unfortunately common occurrence for a lot of individuals.

If you walk around thinking that you are better than other people, or as though you are too busy to make time for them, you are going to miss out on many potentially important lessons.

This is why an attitude of gratitude is becoming increasingly important. If we can learn to adopt an attitude of gratitude, we are going to become more receptive to the lessons around us.

This enables us to better answer the question we started with:

What is continuing education?

It is being open to the opportunities that the universe presents us so that we can continue to learn.

Imagine if you could not only retain what you were learning every day but also build on that knowledge. Think about the impact that would have on your life.

Why Is Continuing Education Important?

Now that we have a better understanding of the answer to the two questions mentioned earlier, it is time to discuss why all of these are important.

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After all, if we do not understand why continuing education is important, we are more likely to lose motivation, which is an obstacle that we would prefer to avoid.[1]

Compliance With Professional Standards

For professionals and workers who are required to stay up to date with their knowledge and skillsets, the need for continuing education is quite clear. This type of education enables them to comply with the laws, standards, and certifications that allow them to remain licensed and working within their profession.

They need these opportunities to start a career in their field of interest. Continuing education allows them to become more qualified so that they can progress to higher levels within their profession and gain more income, freedom, or responsibility.

Learning More About What You Are Passionate About

However, for other individuals, continuing education has another importance. Continuing education enables people to learn more about the things they are passionate about.

This impact can take effect in a variety of different ways. Continually educating yourself could give you the confidence boost you need and serve as a foundation for the next step you want to take in a given area of knowledge.

Sometimes people are not yet fully aware of their passions in life. Reading this article can help you find yours: How To Find and Develop Your Passions.

Opportunities to Meet People

Another significance of continuing education is that it presents opportunities to meet other people. In a world that puts high importance on having a wide social network, continuing education becomes very useful. Even if you are just making new friends in your field, it can have a significant impact on your path towards your education.

Finally, and possibly the most important reason is that continuing education allows you to learn about the things that you have an innate curiosity for. It allows you to begin pursuing your passions and directing yourself towards the future that you would enjoy bringing into reality.

Develop an Attitude of Gratitude for Continuous Learning

Now let us shift from our original question of “what is continuing education?” to “how do we develop attitudes of gratitude?” for a brief moment.

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In the next section, we will quickly examine why this is an important component of our answer to the first question.

There are a few ways to begin working towards embodying an attitude of gratitude, and you can pick and choose the attitudes that resonate with you the most.

Here are a few examples that you may consider:

1. Take the Time to Meditate

Meditation is one way for people to begin developing more gratitude within themselves. This may seem counterintuitive at first. But how does doing nothing develop a grateful attitude? You are right, it does not.

However, it does put us in a great headspace, which encourages us to become more mindful in our daily practices and make us more receptive to gratitude.

If you want to learn more about meditation, this quick guide may help you: The 5-minute Guide to Meditation: Anywhere, Anytime.

2. Express Your Gratitude Verbally

Another straightforward way to begin developing an attitude of gratitude is to begin talking about it more and expressing your gratefulness. You can express it to someone for something as simple as them opening up a door for you. Saying thank you goes a long way for you and others.

By acting gratefully, you will begin having these emotions more regularly, which can eventually integrate into your normal actions.

3. Create a Daily Gratitude Journal

Another method is to keep a gratitude journal. This brings your gratitude from your mind to your external environment where you can more effectively visualize what it is that you are thankful for.

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For example, say you are thankful for your family. The next time one of them gets on your nerves, read your journal so you will be more reminded of how you are grateful for them, even though they annoyed you.

Overall,  these activities instill the mindset of being receptive to the lessons around you so that you can fully absorb them and grow into a better person.

If you like more tips on how to develop an attitude of gratitude, check out this article: 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, you now have a better answer to the question of continuing education now that you have read this article.

By now, you should not only understand what an attitude of gratitude is, but also how you can begin developing it in your own life. Hopefully, through these efforts, you will prime yourself to become more receptive to new learning experiences in your daily life and never miss another opportunity to grow as an individual.

Finally, you should now know the importance of continual education, both from a professional standpoint and a personal one. Through this, you can truly take your life wherever you would like it to go and become whatever type of person you wish to become.

Your future is in your hands.

Want to Know More About Continuing Education?

Featured photo credit: Clay Banks via unsplash.com

Reference

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Mark Lynch

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Last Updated on August 11, 2021

23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

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23 Killer Sites for Free Online Education Anyone Can Use

Whether you’re five or ninety five, the internet has a lot to offer. Particularly when the topic is education, the resources on the internet are endless. Best of all, many high quality sites are completely free. From history to coding, excellent, free online education awaits on the following 23 sites.

1. Coursera

Coursera is a website that partners with universities and organizations around the world. This brings a wide variety of topics and perspectives to one searchable database.

Coursera is a powerful tool for free online education and includes courses from many top universities, museums and trusts. This gives the site an extremely wide range of in-depth courses.

Coursera is extremely useful if you’re looking to study many different topics, or want courses from different schools and groups. However, the free courses are now quite limited, so you’ll have to

2. Khan Academy

Partnering with many post secondary schools, Khan Academy offers a useable, well-organized interface. Also curating many courses from around the web, Khan Academy offers impressive depth on many different subjects.

Among the more well-known educational sites, Khan Academy is also incredibly user-friendly, which may make it easier to keep learning goals. If you’re looking for a free online education, you can’t go wrong with Khan Academy.

3. Open Culture Online Courses

If you are struggling to find exactly the material you are looking for, try Open Culture’s listing of free online education courses. The page highlights 1000 lectures, videos, and podcasts from universities around the world.

The site features a lot of material found only on universities’ private sites, all in easy-to-browse categories. This means you can find hundreds of university courses without having to visit and search each university’s site.

Open Culture’s list features courses from England, Australia, Wales, and many state universities around the United States. It’s a very helpful resource for finding many courses in one area of study.

4. Udemy 

Udemy’s free courses are similar in concept to Coursera’s but additionally allows users to build custom courses from lessons.

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Working with many top professors and schools, the site mixes the customizable platform of other sites with a heavy emphasis on top-quality content. This is another site, however, that mixes free and paid content.

5. Lifehack Fast Track Class

Lifehack believes in skills that multiply your time, energy, and overall quality of life.

In this rapidly changing world, traditional education skills just don’t cut it anymore. You can’t afford to take years learning a skill you’ll never really practice. Besides offering some paid courses that will help you become a better self, it offers a list of free courses which aim to train some of the Core Life Multipliers including:

These are cross-functional skills that work across many aspects of life.

6. Academic Earth

Another site with courses from many different schools is Academic Earth. Much like the three sites above, Academic Earth brings together top notch courses from many different sources and focuses on offering a wide variety of subjects.

Academic Earth lists courses by subject and school, so it might be easier to find what you’re looking for.

7. edX

Another great option for free online education is edX. Also bringing together courses from many different schools, the site has impressive, quality information for everyone. edX covers a great range of topics from universities such as Harvard, MIT, and Berkeley, meaning a high-quality, free online education is entirely possible here.

8. Alison

Unlike the previous sites on this list, Alison is a free education site offering certification in some areas. Alison offers courses mainly in business, technology, and health, but also includes language learning courses.

It’s a great option if users need a professional certificate for their learning, as Alison also offers school curriculum courses.

9. iTunesU Free Courses

A very convenient place for free online education is iTunesU, because it integrates seamlessly with your iPod or any app-ready Apple mobile device. On an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, users download the iTunesU app.

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Desktop users can access iTunesU on the upper right hand corner of the iTunes Store. iTunesU is also convenient because the store is categorized much like iTunes.

Users can search learning materials in many different ways, including by genre and topic. However, courses are often a mix of free podcasts or videos and paid content.

iTunesU does include courses on a variety of topics, but it does not integrate with Android, Google or Windows mobile devices.

10. Stanford Online

Your hub for all the online offerings from Stanford University, Stanford Online offers self-paced and session-based courses. While Coursera features some courses from Stanford, many classes are only available via other hosts. Some courses require iTunes, but most are completed in your web browser.

Stanford Online is a great site for high-quality courses, though the topics are somewhat limited compared to sites partnered with more than one school. If you’re looking for free courses, make sure to mark the “free” option on the left-hand side.

11. Open Yale Courses

Open Yale Courses echoes Stanford Online, in that it offers only courses from Yale. While the site is similarly limited to topics taught at the school, Open Yale Courses offers a lot of videos of actual campus lectures. The availability of videos makes the site a great option if you’re looking for quality courses but learn better by watching than by reading.

12. UC Berkeley Class Central

Much like the other schools on this list, UC Berkeley has a variety of free online education options. The school has slightly fewer courses than the schools above, but it includes some supplementary lectures, webcasts, and RSS Feeds, making it easy to keep up with the topics you choose.

13. MIT OpenCourseWare

Similarly, MIT offers a variety of free courses. The school has a comparable number of courses to the schools above, and it includes very in-depth course materials on the subjects available. MIT also offers free RSS feeds, a convenient way to continue learning.

14. Carnegie Mellon Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon’s free online education site is comparable with the other school’s on this list. However, Open Learning Initiative also covers a smaller range of topics, but for the topics that are covered, impressive, in-depth material is available.

15. Codecademy

Codecademy is a website dedicated specifically to teaching coding. Where other coding sites follow an example/practice session workflow, Codecademy includes a live practice window. This means you can practice coding while still viewing the lesson material.

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The courses at Codecademy are well-written and easy to follow, and the website is organized very nicely. Codecademy features a centralized dashboard where you can monitor your progress, and it organizes lessons into complete modules. This lets you learn an entire language without needing to pick the next course manually.

16. Code

Code is another website focused on coding and app writing. A site with high-quality courses, Code also features learning options for kids.

In addition to kid-friendly courses, Code offers free online education classes on a wide variety of technology topics. These classes include app writing, robotics, and Javascript.

Most of the courses are also geared in a such a way that they can be useful in a classroom setting. This makes Code a great resource for harder to find coding topics, as well as various learning settings.

17. University of Oxford Podcasts

The University of Oxford features many different podcasts. Most are public lecture series or lectures from visiting professors, with several different recordings available.

The advantage to this particular site is that podcasts are organized into series, making it easy to subscribe to multiple lectures on one topic. This is another great site for thoroughly in-depth lectures.

18. BBC Podcasts

For the more casual learner, the BBC offers a wide variety of podcasts on many different topics. Most podcasts are updated weekly and focus on everything from finance, to sports, to current events.

Through the World Service line of podcasts, there are also many in different languages. The focus of these podcasts are less in-depth and theory based, which may be more accessible to the average person.

19. TED-Ed

Another great destination for more general learning and free online education is TED-Ed. From the same people that brought you the all-encompassing, motivational web series comes a site chocked full of educational videos. Most include impressive animation, and all are ten minutes long or less.

Not only is TED-Ed an excellent site for the curious, but it also includes supplemental materials and quizzes on the videos. This makes the site extremely useful in formal education settings, as well as in entertaining ways to brush up on new discoveries and topics.

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20. LessonPaths

LessonPaths is another great tool for those looking for a more usable and convenient way to access learning material. On this site, users create link playlists of their favorite learning materials from other sites. Users then rank these collections, making it easy to find many different high-quality, accessible sources on a given topic.

21. Memrise

Another impressive free online education site offering ease of use and convenience is Memrise. Available both on desktop and as an app, Memrise is a particularly powerful tool if you are studying a language. The site encompasses many other topics as well, though some of the course material is user generated content.

Part of what makes Memrise special is their integration of games into the learning materials, mixing learning with entertainment.

22. National Geographic Kids

The kids site for National Geographic is another site that makes free online education applicable for younger users. For those looking for kid-friendly education, a large variety of games, puzzles, videos and photos keep kids interested on this site.

National Geographic Kids doesn’t organize learning into courses, making materials available by topic and medium instead. This makes National Geographic Kids a good option for those looking for a more casual learning environment.

23. Fun Brain

Fun Brain is another great option for kids looking for free online education, as it focuses on games and fun puzzles. Particularly focused on math and reading, Fun Brain’s game-based approach can be valuable if the child in question struggles to pay attention.

Fun Brain offers rewards and challenges as well, and it is another site aimed at a casual learning experience for kids K-8.

The Bottom Line

With so many amazing free online education resources, everyone has the ability to boost their skills and knowledge. Whether you’re interested in picking up some interesting trivia for your next party, improve your resume with some coding or business skills, or become a more well-rounded person, these resources are perfect for you.

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Featured photo credit: Dai KE via unsplash.com

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