Learning As We Grow – Continuing Education on a Shoestring Budget
Are you a lifelong learner but don’t want to go back to a formal school to study something new?
By Leah Feor
When it comes to studying a subject matter, there are many ways to reach your goal without enrolling in a local university or college. Best of all, these alternative options can save you money and better suit your schedule. Here are four of my favorite ways to gain knowledge and skills on a shoestring budget.
#1: Lessons from Nature
Ecosystems hold a wealth of knowledge. By observing nature we can learn so much about production, consumption, and waste. We learn about growth, cessation, cycles, and patience. Take a look at this video about biomimicry and in about two minutes you will see what I mean.
This reinforces the importance of conservation and restoration of the natural habitats that cover the Earth. When we lose a forest, we lose information systems. When a wetland is destroyed, there goes centuries of wisdom.
When we look to nature for lessons, we not only learn something new, we also develop a special bond which empowers sustained preservation.
#2: Invest in Books
Reading books has become an important part of my daily life. I first learned about biomimicry for example when I read The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken.
Learning on your own is a lot easier when you can study the ideas and theories of great thinkers and doers. Authors share a lifetime of knowledge and experience on a few hundred pages of paper, and as their words jump off the page a light bulb goes off in the student’s mind.
Whether you buy a book or borrow it, there is a great opportunity here to tap into a network of know how written by those that have walked this road before, and can share details from the front lines.
#3: Online Learning
This is potentially one of the greatest things on the internet – virtual classrooms. Actually, I first learned about Caelus Green Room when seeking out sustainability training & came across their SustainTrain™ site.
Sustainability is a relatively new and growing field – if you graduated as little as 10 years ago, courses in this subject may not have been offered within your degree. SustainTrain™ gives you the opportunity to add a certificate to your curriculum vitae from the comfort of your own home.
While the internet may not be accessible everywhere, the web of information that it holds can be tapped into from any corner of the Earth and brought back into remote communities. A teacher can learn online, and then share this knowledge with students along the way. The more you share knowledge, the more you gain wisdom and insight.
#4: Learn by Doing
This can be one of the most exciting ways to learn. If you are interested in something, I highly recommend you try your hand at it.
If you can pair up with a teacher, mentor, or coach from your community to teach you the tricks of the trade, all the better. You can reciprocate by volunteering on a project with them. This will likely reinforce what you have learned, bring your skills to the next level, and maybe even give you the opportunity to pass along what you have come to know.
You might also find an opportunity to learn by taking on a job that may not have a high pay, but teaches you a new skill. Job training is a form of education that is helpful throughout your career.
“There is no greater education than one that is self-driven.”
~Neil deGrasse Tyson
While there are many other ways to learn beyond what’s been discussed, these shoestring budget ideas will help you add to your knowledge base. While formal education has numerous benefits, autonomous learning offers endless possibilities.
This blog has been modified by the author from original post on simplysustainableblog.com
About the Author – Leah Feor
Leah is a strategic advisor, administrator, and content creator for Simply Sustainable™. Balancing a triple bottom line for organizations and individuals is her utmost goal. She’s a big picture thinker with an eye for detail. Her passion for the environment and social impact bring her business background to life. Outdoor adventures, healthy living, and continuous learning are just a few of her favourite things.