Thursday, October 1, 2009

Lifelong Learning Thursday

Nancy Merz Nordstrom, author of Learning Later, Living Greater: The Secret of Making the Most of Your After 50 Years will share the benefits of Lifelong Learning on Thursdays.

The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.

Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!

Last week we looked at some facts about lifelong learning programs. This week let’s look at the participants themselves. They personify lifelong learning at its best.

The camaraderie at a program fills the classrooms and spills into the halls, the cafeteria, and even out in the parking lot. Stimulating discussions echo in the air. Laughter, intensity and a real joie de vie envelop everyone involved. To an outsider at first glance it might seem like a group of young people intent on comparing the latest rock bands. But a second look would show these students are special: they’ve experienced life and all it has to offer. They are truly living!

Closer study shows that participants are self-motivated learners, intent on making their later years the very best they can be. They come from all walks of life. Some have college degrees. Others do not. In the types of programs we are discussing, it’s a level playing field.

Members are dedicated students of retirement age, whose common bonds are intellectual curiosity and generational experiences. They share opinions, knowledge, and expertise with humor, creativity, mutual respect and an intense vitality. The volunteer work each member does at a program helps create a well-run learning environment full of diversity, insight, wisdom and intellectual and cultural stimulation. At the same time, they get to share in the joys of learning and friendship while being challenged to broaden their horizons.

In other words, everyone is there to keep their brains active and alert. Everyone is there for the sheer joy of learning. Everyone has something to contribute because all members have life experiences that have shaped and formed them. Life experience is experiential learning at its very best!

All members bring their experiences to the classroom. Give and take between the members and the course facilitators is a hallmark of lifelong learning programs. The facilitator learns as much from the participants as the participants do from the facilitator.

Unless it’s a special lecture, most of the time you will not find “talking heads” in these classes. Rather you will find facilitators anxious to guide participants on a journey of self-discovery, finding a new way to look at an old topic, listening to both sides of an issue, exploring the world of something new and exciting in a relaxed and stimulating environment. In other words, these lifelong learning programs are the perfect learning venue.

Mortimer Adler, American philosopher, educator and author said, “The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as we continue to live.” This is exactly what those who participate in lifelong learning programs are doing - they are continuing to live, and not letting their ages interfere with living life to the fullest.

For more information on Learning Later, Living Greater visit

You can purchase Learning Later, Living Greater at

Till Next Time…

Nancy Merz Nordstrom is Director of the Lifelong Learning Department at Computer School for Seniors (

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