Back to School!

The Joy of Lifelong Learning

Back to school

Jayshree on learning new skills


I’ve been out of school for a long time, but the first week of September always feels like the start of a new year. The nervousness coupled with anticipation and excitement is still there. I’d bet it’s the same for many of you.

As a self-professed lifelong learner, I’ve continued to read books, travel both near and far, and meet new people as much as I can. I try to learn a new skill every year. For example, this year I learned how to make pasta from scratch!

As adult learners, our schedules are busy and our needs are different. This means that traditional brick-and-mortar schools don’t always work for us.

Here are a few of my favorite lifelong learning options:

Massive open online courses (MOOCs)

MOOCs are incredible. They’re e-learning tools that are easy and accessible – and they’re usually free. Learners can access academic courses in many languages, across various educational institutions: from Ivy League schools to liberal arts colleges to international universities! I’ve taken quite a few courses via the Coursera platform. These have ranged from “Ancient Greek History” (Wesleyan University) to “American Foreign Policy“ (University of Pennsylvania) to “Basic Statistics” (University of Amsterdam).

I use several different MOOC platforms:

  • Coursera offers 500 courses from over 100 universities across the world, including Stanford, Princeton, Bocconi, and Centrale Paris. Courses are free but you have to pay to receive a degree.

  • edX features world-renowned courses from Harvard, MIT, and 30 other universities from all over the world. Courses are free, but again you have to pay to receive a degree.

  • Khan Academy has simple but rigorous courses, all for free.

  • The Open University is an easy-to-use platform with 1,000 free courses offered across different subject areas.


Webinars are presentations that are held online for training and education. Often these are offered free of cost. They’re events that connect individuals across the world. Learners can hear lectures and see accompanying slides in real-time while in the comfort of their own homes. Often these presentations are also archived for later viewing.

Webinar topics are as widespread as webinar attendees! There’s a webinar for pretty much everything. I recently took one on the topic of de-cluttering and downsizing, which – I must say – was quite timely!


YouTube is an amazing tool. Of course I love watching music videos and old movie clips – but did you know it’s also a great education resource? Want to learn how to tie a sari, a tie, or a turban? Several quick, easy, and fun tutorials are available. Need to update your make-up skills? There are hundreds of make-up artists, professional and amateur, who have great channels offering step-by-step instructions. Learning a new language? Yes, YouTube can help with that too!

In-class training

Many traditional colleges and universities have started to offer continuing education classes for the wider community as well. These institutions have begun to recognize the demand for and value of flexible approaches to education.

If you’re itching to hit the books at your own pace this Fall, sharpen your pencils, check out these great resources, and get started!


Are you a lifelong learner looking to pick up new skills? Contact us to learn more about Priya Living’s programming or to arrange a private tour of our facilities!