Monday, January 11, 2010

Life-wide Learning

by Phil Houseal as published in the Kerrville TX Community Journal & Boerne TX Hill Country Weekly  Jan 13, 2009

As a statewide and national advocate for Community Education, I always speak of life-long learning, as in learning that never ends.

Lately I’ve realized a better way to explain the concept might be “life-wide learning.”

The difference is similar to the one of that exists in pursuit of advanced degrees. One wag observed that the goal of a Ph.D. candidate is to learn more and more about less and less, until he knows everything about nothing.

But even those of us with advanced degrees find satisfaction in gaining knowledge in many unrelated fields. It might be said this wide learning has lead to mankind’s great discoveries. Consider the serendipitous events, such as the discovery of penicillin from bread molds, and radiation from the accidental placement of uranium on a film negative.

Maybe you already have a degree in Nuclear Physics, but you need to fix a fence. That’s where our class in welding comes in.

Or maybe you run a small business that is growing so fast you can’t keep up with payroll and inventory. But Quickbooks can, and Club Ed has a class to teach you how to use it.

Or maybe you’ve retired from that military career, where you were in charge of platoons and divisions. But you have always wanted to learn to paint (or knit, or crochet, or dance, or play guitar). That is a wide array of choices. That is life-wide learning.

Not sure what you want to learn? We have classes for that! Coaching courses put you one on one with a professional who will help you lay out a path for personal fulfillment. Or take a course in journaling, where you discover your inner voice.

Lifewide learning is also “learning to learn.” The first step to learning any skill or knowledge is an having an awareness of how you learn, to recognize and monitor your  learning style. Are you a visual or auditory learner? That is, do you prefer seeing the information written on the board, or do you prefer listening to a lecture? Or are you kinesthetic - do you have to get your hands on something in order to understand how it works? Knowing the answer will guide you in the kind of class you should take.

Whichever way you learn, the key to lifewide learning is that the very act of learning should be a source of enjoyment. Learning is something you immerse yourself in.

Even if you discount the worldly benefits, the act of learning can be a source of enjoyment.

Opportunities for “lifewide” learning are endless and ever changing. Each session brings about 200 new classes. You don’t even have to wait for the catalog. You can go online year round, or go to your favorite bookseller and get a book.

So don’t ever wait to start learning. Come on in - the water is warm and the river is wide!


Registration for Spring classes in Club Ed is now underway. For information or to sign up, click, or call 830-895-4386.

Club Ed is the Community Education program of the Kerrville Independent School District. Each year, we offer more than 400 classes throughout the Texas Hill Country, along with online courses, business and individual training, and after-school and summer camps. Comment online at, or follow us on Twitter @clubedtx.

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