Treasure learning for life

Lifelong learning and dispositions for learning are an important part of young children’s education and care. It’s a message for adults too. Twenty years after Australia’s first Adult Learners’ Week it’s that time again: to learn for the heck of it not for the qualification.

The first day of September begins Adult Learners’ Week 2015, (1 to 8 September). Whatever your age it’s a time to explore all the options for adding a skill, trying a new approach or learning something that never quite stuck the first time.Adult-Learners-Week-Home-Slide-July-2015

It’s a week where libraries, communities and learning organisations throw open their doors or their digital archives to let you in. Everything is on offer from growing fresh vegetables to oral story-telling and using digital tablets for health and wellbeing (www.adultlearnersweek.org/event/ipad-q-a). It’s a week to value learning as well as learn for the heck of it not for the qualification.

You can turn up to a class in the neighbourhood or tap into the global community. Make use of the many online learning opportunities that are putting lifelong learning on small devices in your pocket that can be read on a train, listened by podcast in the car or viewed with a friend in a cafe.

Australia first celebrated Adult Learners’ week in 1995, so 2015 marks the twenty year anniversary.  This year it overlaps with National Literacy and Numeracy Week (see ideas and tips for educators and parents at www.literacyandnumeracy.gov.au).

Libraries around Australia offer year round access to thousands of online courses, magazines and newspapers, digital archives and a host of other resources. Adult Learners’ Week might be a good time to browse and find what is available.

Try Lynda.com through your local library, an online video training library that offers marketing, software, design and communication skills training. All you need is a library membership.

Find events, activities and inspiration at Adult Learners’ Week site: www.adultlearnersweek.org.

Get to grips with Twitter in Alice Springs (www.adultlearnersweek.org/event/get-to-grips-with-twitter)

Learn to use skype at Victoria Point Library (www.adultlearnersweek.org/event/learnit-skype)

Have Digital literacy demystified at Prospect Digital Hub in Thomas Street Nailsworth, South Australia (www.adultlearnersweek.org/event/digital-literacy-demystified).

Check the National Library of Australia’s Trove or Brimbank Libraries site for more ideas (www.brimbanklibraries.vic.gov.au).

Some suggestions for a mix of personal and professional online and mobile favourites:

Wherever you live, whatever you choose, whether it’s related to work or your personal horizons—a language conversation class, cooking with new ingredients or composting with worms—lifelong learning is for everyone. Let it open up new ideas, new perspectives, help manage stress levels or connect with new people.

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Clare McHugh

Clare McHugh is a Project Manager in ECA’s Learning Hub. She is responsible for the Digital Business Kit, exploring possibilities for technology in the early childhood sector, and for Start Early, an initiative to develop long term strategies that prevent domestic and family violence. Clare has been thinking and writing about children, family and social policy for many years, including previously for the Commonwealth Child Care Advisory Council and the Australian government. Her background is in psychology and professional writing. She has worked in adult development and group facilitation, employer sponsored child care, family relationships and in the publishing industry. Outside of ECA Clare continues several writing and publishing projects through her freelance business.

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