Sometimes it’s fun to learn something new just for the sake of learning; at other times, that learning leads to a new profit center. Wherever your learning path takes you, the important thing to remember is that learning is one of the best uses of time ever invented.

Where do you begin? Here are a few possibilities, many of them gleaned from The Independent Scholar’s Handbook by Ronald Gross.

Adult and continuing education. Available in almost every community except the smallest. Colleges and universities, as well as independent programs, public school systems and even libraries offer opportunities.

Networks. You can plug into one of the many invisible networks of people learning from one another on a regular basis via mail, phone, computers and newsletters.

Home improvement and craft stores. Places like Home Depot and Michael’s offer many free or inexpensive useful classes.

Conferences. A good place to meet others in your field and to take in the most up-to-date issues, ideas and technologies.

Learning groups. Convening your own group of co-learners is easier than you think.

Specialized bookstores. Whether you visit them in person or via catalog or correspondence, you will find not merely books but also people who share your interests. Don’t overlook the free author talks at full-service bookstores, either.

Television. Making creative choices in your television viewing and following up on what you’ve seen can add a new dimension to your learning life.

Libraries. Libraries are an entrepreneur’s best friend. Beyond offering books, they can serve learners in unexpected and useful ways that most people have not heard of — and such help is available for the asking. Make friends with a reference librarian. Many libraries also host speakers.

Churches. These are beehives of free or inexpensive learning options. Many New Thought churches offer wonderful workshops.

Magazines and newspapers. Get the most out of them; challenge yourself to read other points of view.

Teleclasses. This hot new learning system lets you gather new ideas and information from the comfort of your home.

Arts centers. The arts, an ideal way to learn and grow, are burgeoning nationwide, especially at a grassroots level.

Teaching. It will increase and extend your command of your subject, prompting you to take a fresh overview and forcing you to make sure your knowledge is up-to-date.

Audiocassettes and CDs. There are recordings that cover an entire range of subjects and you can listen at your own speed.

There’s more where this came from.
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