Online Resources for Lifelong Learners

A comprehensive guide to online and lifelong learning for seniors.

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”
William Butler Yeats

Why Embrace Online Learning in Retirement?

At Road Scholar, we believe that learning is the journey of a lifetime. Our mission is to inspire adults to learn, discover and travel – because we believe that staying curious about the world makes life extraordinary. Meeting new people, touching history where it happened and delving deep into unfamiliar cultures and landscapes help us continue to find personal fulfillment in retirement.

Our transformative learning adventures take Road Scholars on educational journeys in 150 countries and all 50 U.S. states, but learning in retirement can take place at home too. In fact, with coronavirus affecting travel all over the world, online learning has taken center stage in recent weeks. The Internet is a powerful tool that can bring our community of lifelong learners together during this time of social distancing and self-isolation. It’s more important, now than ever, to stay connected.

However, with the sheer number of online learning opportunities available for seniors, it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve compiled the ultimate resource for lifelong learning from home!

From virtual museum tours to fascinating lectures from our experts around the world, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of online learning experiences for seniors. For those who wish to share their deep love of travel, you’ll also learn how to remotely connect with other Road Scholars who have adopted the philosophy of lifelong learning into their own lives by participating in globetrotting adventures.

What is Lifelong Learning?

Lifelong learning is the active pursuit of education (formal or informal) that extends far beyond formal schooling and into retirement. It is voluntary, self-motivated and often focused on personal development. Adopting a philosophy of lifelong learning can expand your social circle, encourage critical thinking and independence and strengthen your connection to the world around you.

 

Lifelong Learning Examples

  • Developing a new hobby or skill
  • Attending a lecture or class
  • Taking part in self-taught research or study
  • Learning about the world

“Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.”

— Isaac Asimov —

Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Many seniors express how important lifelong learning is to them, and how Road Scholar’s educational adventures play a significant role in helping them continue to learn in retirement. The benefits of lifelong learning cannot be overstated – by staying curious, we are opening ourselves up to new possibilities and discovering more about ourselves, even later in life.

Here are just a few benefits of being a lifelong learner:

1.

Increase Your Self-Confidence

With new knowledge comes a stronger sense of self-confidence. Whether you’re trying your hand at photography or reading up on Civil War history, the satisfaction that comes from devoting time to learning in retirement is sure to give your self-confidence a boost.

“I think pursuing interests and learning new things is key to health and happiness as we age. Once retired, it’s crucial to do things outside your home and perhaps outside your comfort zone to stretch your mind and body.”

— Nancy, from Marietta, Ga., Road Scholar participant

 

2.

Set (And Meet!) New Goals

It can be easy to get stuck in a routine in retirement and feel as though we’re just going through the motions. Lifelong learning allows us to set exciting new goals for ourselves – and gives us a sense of accomplishment when we achieve them!

3.

Rediscover Old Passions

What did you use to love that you aren’t doing anymore? Draw on the past for inspiration! Retirement is the perfect time for lifelong learners to dust off an old hobby or discover a new one!

“For those of us of a certain vintage, lifelong learning offers a unique opportunity for in-depth study of interests we may have postponed early in our lives. With Road Scholar, we also have the chance to mingle with our contemporaries, explore cities, start new hobbies or enjoy the arts – all at an activity level that meets our individual needs.”

— Susan, from Fairfax, Va., Road Scholar participant

4.

Improve Personal and Professional Skills

Lifelong learning encourages creativity, critical thinking, interpersonal skills and many more – all of which are important in our personal and professional lives.

5.

Expand Your Social Circle

One of the most important benefits of lifelong learning for seniors is the opportunity to be part of a community of people who are interested in the same things as you. Retirement can be lonely, but our passion for education can unite us and introduce us to new friends.

“Lifelong learning provides us with avenues to pursue education with other people who share similar interests and values, whom we might never have had the opportunity to meet and get to know otherwise.”

— Mark, from Portsmouth, N.H., Road Scholar participant

6.

Live Longer and Happier!

Studies have shown that lifelong learners, especially those who pursue learning in a social environment, tend to live longer and may even stave off the scourges of modern aging such as Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals who participate in lifelong learning in retirement experience enhanced levels of well-being and optimism about the future substantially above national averages.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.”

— Henry Ford —

Lifelong Learning Classes Online

At Road Scholar, we want to make lifelong learning possible for all – even if travel isn’t in the cards for you right now.

 That’s why we now offer both single online virtual lectures as well as full-week online programs that you can access them right now from the comfort of your own home! These LIVE lifelong learning classes are the ultimate online resource for learning in retirement.

ROAD SCHOLAR’S ADVENTURES ONLINE

Our exclusive collection of “Adventures Online” offer a full week of virtual learning experiences designed to re-create the Road Scholar experience online! Join a small group of new friends and expert instructors for six days of lectures, performances, discussions and more on topics like opera, theater and the museums of Paris.

Road Scholar’s Virtual Lecture Series

Join a Road Scholar expert from one of our most popular programs as you learn about fascinating topics like early Viking settlements in Northern France and the evolution of Native American cuisine in New Mexico during our live online lectures. These 45-minute presentations include a 30-minute lecture and a 15-minute interactive Q&A session. Be among the first 1,000 viewers to tune in live, or watch the recordings in our Virtual Lecture Library!

“I found the information presented in each of Road Scholar’s virtual lectures extremely fascinating! This was a wonderful way to continue my lifelong learning journey and ‘travel’ here at home. I look forward to tuning into many more lectures in the future!”

— Mary, from Scottsdale, Ariz.

 

 

Online Travel Experiences for Lifelong Learners

While we believe that one of the best ways to learn in retirement is to explore the world, we recognize that travel isn’t always possible for everyone.

The good news is there are many ways to fulfill your love of learning and “travel” to new cities, countries and continents – all from the comfort of your own home. Online travel experiences such as virtual tours, lectures and classes are wonderful resources for lifelong learners who wish to be whisked away to a faraway land without any of the hassle!

Not sure where to start? We’ve put together a list of immersive online learning resources for seniors that’s sure to satisfy even the strongest case of wanderlust.

Virtual Museum Tours

Are you an art lover or a history buff? Many of the world’s most renowned museums offer virtual walkthroughs of their galleries online, thanks to Google Arts & Culture. Large collections of paintings and sculptures are also available for up-close inspection with a simple click of the mouse and are accompanied by detailed descriptions and notes. Here are a few of our favorites:

 

Nature & Wildlife Livestreams

Bring nature indoors with these online learning resources for wildlife lovers. Thanks to webcams streaming live video feeds from all over the world, we can now set off on an African safari or snorkel through a coral reef without leaving the couch.

 


Check out Explore’s full collection of wildlife cameras from around the world.

Immersive Virtual Travel

With today’s modern technology you can explore the world – from the Great Wall of China to Carlsbad Caverns – on an immersive virtual tour from the comfort of your own home! Some even have educational commentary by expert historians and naturalists. Whether your goal is to visit a national park or historic monument, it’ll feel as though you’re really there! Here are a few to get you started:


Check out Google Earth’s full library of virtual tours of U.S. national parks.

 

Online Performances and Lectures

From fine art to cooking, experts on nearly every subject you can imagine are sharing their insights online for lifelong learners to enjoy … and many of them are doing it for free!

Discover more free online courses, virtual tours and other educational resources on Open Culture’s website.

 

The Armchair Explorer

Road Scholar’s Armchair Explorer blog series strives to enhance virtual lifelong learning by curating the very best online learning resources for seniors on a variety of subjects. Destinations include Paris, Yosemite National Park, London and more!

“You'll never know everything about anything, especially something you love.”

— Julia Child —

Online Learning Communities for Seniors

Not only is the Internet a wonderful tool for learning about the world (one click at a time!), it’s also an excellent way to connect with fellow lifelong learners and remain an active member of the community while at home. Road Scholar has established many online learning communities for seniors, including our website discussion boards and Facebook groups.

Discussion Boards

Whether you’re a longtime Road Scholar fan or you’ve never traveled with us before, we think you’ll find that one of the best parts of the Road Scholar experience is the people you meet on our learning adventures. But you don’t have to travel with us to be a part of that community! You can join our online discussion boards any time. These discussion boards are a great place to ask questions, share advice and meet fellow lifelong learners – and maybe even plan to meet up as a group in the future!

Women of Road Scholar Facebook Group

Are you a frequent solo traveler, a recent widow ready to dive headfirst into the world of lifelong learning or just a woman who loves the idea of learning with other ladies in retirement? Good news: there are thousands of other women just like you, and it’s easier than ever to connect with them! Join the Women of Road Scholar Facebook Group, a space for female lifelong learners to share questions, tips, ideas, stories and inspiration for future travel.

“I’m so happy I found this group! I’m nearing retirement and planning to travel on my own (i.e., no spouse), so it is refreshing to see so many adventurous women who love lifelong learning. Cannot wait to take my first Road Scholar trip!”

— Janet, from Alexandria, Va., future Road Scholar participant

Road Scholar Teachers Facebook Group

Did you know that there are more teachers traveling the world with Road Scholar than any other profession? If you’re an active or retired teacher yourself, chances are you can understand why. Teachers are some of the most dedicated lifelong learners we know! That’s why we created the Road Scholar Teachers Facebook Group, an online learning community for past and present teachers. Join the group to share advice and stories about your passion for education.

“I was a professor for about 20 years. I am now retired. I love to learn, so I do a lot of traveling and have been to all 50 states and about 70 countries. I have been on 15 or so Road Scholar programs – mostly solo, and have met some incredibly wonderful people, including retired educators like myself!”

— Linda, from Zephyrhills, Fla., Road Scholar participant

Follow Us on Social Media!

Another great way to connect with our online learning community for seniors is by following Road Scholar on social media! No matter your preferred platform, engaging with other lifelong learners who also follow us on social media may just inspire you to learn more about topics you hadn’t considered before!

Read the Road Scholar Blog

At Road Scholar, we live and breathe educational travel. It’s our passion. With more than 40 years of experience fostering a love of lifelong learning across the globe, we have plenty of unique insights to share. Our blog is an extension of our global classroom – come on in, learn with us and share your thoughts in the comments below!

“The more I live, the more I learn. The more I learn, the more I realize, the less I know.”

— Michel Legrand —

Online Learning Tips for Seniors

Although Internet use has increased significantly among seniors in recent years, there is often a barrier to entry for many who are unfamiliar with the technology.

We hope the tips and resources listed below will help break down this barrier and ensure lifelong learners of all technical abilities are able to successfully access the plethora of wonderful educational experiences available online.

Best Educational Retirement Trips