Being curious about lifelong learning

By Frank Bolger - Last update

Get Daily news and updates directly to your Email

The incentives that are regularly bandied about when it comes to further learning are typically employment-related: how skills can be used to service industry needs; how learning plays a major role in advancing the ongoing commitment to creating a knowledge economy; how it helps to establish a kind of nationwide think-tank that will generate the solutions and ideas needed to inspire a new wave of national entrepreneurs.

It is all positive of course, and it is all necessary. However, there is not much in the above that suggests another element of education: it can also be fun.

This is something that parents and Montessori teachers up and down the country know quite well. They see their children absorb information more readily, and therefore more thoroughly, when the information is presented to them in an appealing way – one that somehow piques their interest.

And it is no less so with adult education. Of course, by the time we reach adulthood we have all developed all kinds of active information filters that allow us to take on board the information that we feel is most relevant to us. This is a natural mechanism with practical utility, but it can allow deny our learning faculties access to certain other areas which may not be of immediately apparent interest.

The Cork Lifelong Learning Festival, which runs from March 18 to 24, seeks to redress this to some degree. The event focuses on celebrating learning of all kinds across all age groups, abilities and interests – from preschool to post retirement – and how it can make life more fulfilling and enjoyable. This is an attitude that is well reflected by the festival’s motto: Investigate, Participate, Celebrate.

The event will feature free tours, demonstrations, performances, displays, taster sessions, workshops, seminars, debates and plenty more besides. It is a week in which adults are encouraged to let their curiosity roam a bit more than usual. Who knows what it might retrieve for you.

Frank Bolger

Digital Marketing: Getting your voice heard in cyberspace
Adult Literacy and Learning