16 September 2021

Lifelong learning from the university of hard lockdown

| Jeremy Jones
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Man at computer learning online

From gardening to wine appreciation, there is a lot you can learn virtually during lockdown. Photo: James Bernasconi.

Are you bored during lockdown? Thinking about learning something new? Why not learn about the birds in your backyard? Or wine appreciation? Or plan for your next performance review with a free salary negotiation course from Harvard?

In these current times of COVID-19 lockdown and restricted socialising, adult learning is a way to engage your mind, reshape your future and meet new people.

It improves quality of life, stimulates your brain and provides new ways to interact with people you wouldn’t otherwise meet.

“The benefits of lifelong learning are the motivation to learn and grow,” says ANU continued education support officer Jenny Halpin. “It is focused and self-driven, it enhances our understanding of the world, and gives us different perspectives.

“Continuing education takes many forms such as formal postgraduate study, targeted professional learning to improve career prospects, and community courses in an area of personal interest. It can be for fun, for mental stimulation, to pique interest, or just to learn something new.”

As many of us experience the disruption of lockdown, adult learning provides a way to deal with challenges.

“Adult learning is essential as the rate of change accelerates and disruption is the order of the day,” says Kristin Boag, lead speaker curator for TEDx Canberra.

“Careers are no longer linear. As we transition between jobs, organisations and across industry sectors, we’ll need to update our minds as frequently as we update our operating systems on our devices just to keep up.”

Here are some ways you can continue learning during lockdown.

Alfred Chidembo speaking onstage at TEDxCanberra

Alfred Chidembo speaking onstage at TEDxCanberra. Photo: Thomas Lucraft.

TED Talks

TED Talks are a free and accessible way to learn about new issues and spark curiosity.

TED Talks are videos that present a great idea in 18 minutes or less. They are filmed at conferences worldwide where technology, entertainment and design converge.

For more information, visit TED Talks.

Sign at entrance to Australian National University

The Australian National University offers a wide variety of general interest courses. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Australian National University

The Australian National University offers courses for both professionals and people learning for general interest through the Centre for Continuing Education.

“Our microcredentials and professional learning are more for people who are looking for specific career skills,” says Jenny Halpin.

General interest courses range from ‘Understanding Birds’, a course that explores all aspects of birdlife, to ‘The Renaissance: Art and Society’ that covers the Renaissance period.

“We offer very interesting courses that people can use to free their mind at the end of their work,” says Jenny.

For more information, visit ANU.

University of Canberra sign on campus

University of Canberra offers courses for professional development through UC Pro. Photo: File.

University of Canberra

University of Canberra offers a range of courses for people to further their professional development through UC Pro.

“Within UC Pro, our most popular courses tend to be ‘Data Visualisation’ and ‘Data Analytics’,” says Renee Murphy, an associate director at University Canberra. “We’re finding courses equipping you with skills to work with data are becoming an essential skill set in contemporary workplaces as data-based decision making really takes hold.”

Understanding and communicating data has become a sought-after skill.

“These courses can be coupled together to provide skills to analyse data for the most integral insights, and learn how to present it in impactful and visually compelling ways for management reports,” says Renee.

For more information, visit: University of Canberra.

Girl watching online tutorial

CIT Solutions is the largest provider of recreational and work-related short courses in Canberra. Photo: File.

Canberra Institute of Technology

Canberra Institute of Technology has a number of online courses offering certificates in professions ranging from project management to forensic identification. CIT Solutions is the largest provider of recreational and work-related short courses in Canberra. Courses include creative arts and crafts; food and wine; lifestyle and fitness; home, garden and garage; languages and writing; self-improvement; personal finances; technology; social media; and small business management.

For more information, visit CIT Solutions.

University of Oxford

Want to add the oldest English-speaking university to your CV? University of Oxford offers free courses through OxfordX. The courses are online or a verified certificate is available for a small fee. The only course currently available is ‘From Poverty to Prosperity: Understanding Economic Development’ which looks at the role of government and the key political, social and economic processes that elevate society from poverty to prosperity.

For more information, visit: OxfordX.

Two businessmen shaking hands with woman looking on

Harvard University has a range of courses to help you in your everyday life, including negotiating your next pay rise. Photo: File.

Harvard University

Harvard University offers more than 100 free courses online, running from 15 minutes to 16 weeks. The courses range from the practical to recreational. You can learn web programming, the principles of biochemistry, or even the handy skill of salary negotiation.

For more information, visit: Harvard University.

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Tom Worthington3:26 pm 17 Sep 21

ANU, University of Canberra, and other Australian unis, now offer a large number of undergraduate and postgraduate certificates. These can be done in six months full time, but I would suggest planning to take a year, or longer, part time (took me 18 months). Look for “short courses” in the government database: https://www.courseseeker.edu.au/courses

Tom Worthington2:19 pm 17 Sep 21

Vocational institutions also provide a way to get a qualification with a minimum of study. The staff at CIT helped me document current skills and knowledge, so I could skip most classes for a Certificate. https://blog.highereducationwhisperer.com/2013/08/certificate-iv-in-training-and.html

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