4 Ways Busy Adults Can Learn Without Going Back To School
CEO of Smarter Me, Lim Ee Ling, shares how to keep abreast with learning as a busy adult.
“Success in life comes down to 2 things: Being curious and always learning.” – Robin Sharma.
For CEO and founder of Smarter Me, Lim Ee Ling believes this quote to be so core to her education business. Though her business targets learning for kids, the same principle so adults learn more effectively.
For the educator-entrepreneur, busy adults should not make any excuses when it comes to learning. Lifelong learning is what makes us all better people.
Stop making excuses
How many of us have thought of spending more time reading or learning a new skill, but never got around doing it because we “don’t have time”? The truth is, we do.
“Any minute spent on Instagram and Facebook, is a minute away from learning something that feeds our souls. But even as I knew that deep down, I needed help actually putting it into action,” shares Ee Ling.
Here are her 4 ways adults learn without going back to school (and she’s even arranged in order of effort needed – lowest to highest):
1. Adults learn through podcasts
Gary Vee explains it best- with limited time and various content fighting for our attention, it’s hard to take time to sit down and read a book, or watch an online course. Which is where podcasts come in handy. Pre-download the ones that you like (so it doesn’t consume your data!), and play it when you are commuting to and from work instead of listening to music. And there you go! 60 minutes of personal development and learning, done.
Ee Ling’s favourite app: Castbox
2. Adults learn through summarised books
They call this book reading for CEOs. This app takes key nonfiction books and distils them into key insight summaries you can read or listen to in 15 minutes. While you do miss out on the actual pleasure of reading a full book, it is efficient for the busy ones who want to remain well-read! The good books – Good to Great, Zero to One, Thrive, Contagious are all in one app!
Ee Ling’s favourite app: Blinkist. There’s a monthly subscription fee, so Ee Ling recommends trying out the free trial first before subscribing!
3. Adults learn through online courses
Learning has never been more accessible. Seriously, for every interest you have, there’s an e-learning platform that caters to you! Most of these are video-based which you need to pay attention to and watch, but some allow you to download and watch offline, which makes it perfect for those commutes!
Ee Ling’s favourites:
For Creative Stuff: Skillshare and CreativeLive. From photography, videography, UI/UX, design, music… It is food for the creative souls. Skillshare charges a monthly subscription and lets you take as many classes as you want, while CreativeLive is on a pay-per-video basis, is more curated and also hosts free live videos.
For Tech: Udemy, Udacity, Coursera. If you’re looking to learn tech skills from tech companies and want a certificate, go for Udacity. If you want very academic courses from universities, Coursera is the right one. For the widest range of topics (including non-tech), Ee Ling likes Udemy.
For Humanities: Mindvalley is Ee Ling’s personal favourite. Mindvalley brings the world’s leading authors and gurus online by creating online classes which are more affordable than attending a live seminar on the other side of the world. They focus on teachings in productivity, mind, health, relationships, and career; teachers include Robin Sharma, Jon Butcher, Lisa Nichols and more. Ee Ling loves that they have a ton of free 1-hour videos that on their own are already chockfull with wisdom.
To Learn from the Stars: For the ones who are star-struck: Masterclass. Featuring Gordon Ramsay (Cooking), Stephen Curry (Basketball), Marc Jacobs (Fashion design).
4. Adults learn through curated talks and workshops
These are especially useful for those who are thinking of changing careers and want to build vital skills relevant to today’s world.
“When I first jumped into entrepreneurship, General Assembly was my saviour – they regularly conduct workshops and talks by practitioners with interesting topics like SEO Training for Beginners, Intro to Coding, Social Media Strategy Mapping, and their events and workshops are usually on weekday nights and weekends,” shares Ee Ling.
“My first full day workshop was a Go-To-Market workshop by Ashok Miranda, which was so good, we asked Ashok to be our branding advisor thereafter,” she adds.
Ee Ling’s suggestion: Join the mailing list of General Assembly and others like Wework, Collision 8, Eventbrite and Peatix to keep abreast of upcoming talks which may interest you!
There are a ton of free materials out there which we can leverage on. But more in-depth learning typically does come with a price. But quoting Warren Buffett, the most important investment we can make is in ourselves.
Note from Ee Ling: “I am not affiliated to any of apps and sites mentioned in this article. But if you have kids aged 9 to 17, do check out Smarter Me for courses which prepare children for the future!”
Read more about Ee Ling and Smarter Me here and find other ways adults learn more effectively.