Resources › For Adult Learners 5 Ways to Learn in Your Third Age Share Flipboard Email Print For Adult Learners Tips For Adult Students Getting Your Ged By Deb Peterson Education Expert B.A., English, St. Olaf College Deb Peterson is a writer and a learning and development consultant who has created corporate training programs for firms of all sizes. our editorial process Deb Peterson Updated July 03, 2019 Humans are living 30 years longer than they did in 1900. Now, those of us 55 to 79 have a "third age" in which to learn whatever we want, whether it involves going back to school in a formal classroom (virtual or on campus) or more casual learning on our own, even just dabbling. This is not to be confused with the Third Age that J.R.R. Tolkien created in his trilogy Lord of the Rings, obviously, but if you mention the third age in a social setting and younger eyebrows go up, this may be the reason, so it's a good thing for you to know. You'll sound so hip when you know why they're surprised. Tolkien's Third Age ends with the defeat of the villain Sauron in the War of the Ring. Here are five ways to learn in the third age. What will you choose? 01 of 05 Go Back to School Jupiterimages - Stockbyte - GettyImages-86517609 Should you go back to school? The decision is a different one for each of us and depends a lot on age, retirement (or not), and finances. Have you always wanted to earn a degree? Another degree? Maybe you've always dreamed of getting your GED or high school equivalency certificate. This might be your time. Should You Go Back to School?12 Steps Toward Your College Degree10 Facts About Financial AidEducation One of 10 Ways to Prevent Alzheimer's 02 of 05 Take a Class Here and There jo unruh - E Plus - Getty Images 185107210 Going back to school doesn't have to be a serious endeavor. Many communities offer seminars in all kinds of fabulous topics taught by community experts in casual settings, often on evenings and weekends. If you're in your third age, chances are good you've taken a good number of these seminars already, or taught them yourself! If not, find out what your community offers. Dabble! You're likely to find classes at community colleges and senior centers. Telling the Stories of Your LifeWhat Is TED?Be a Student of the Greatest Teachers for Just One Day 03 of 05 Take a Webinar Sofie Delauw - Cultura - Getty Images The web is full of wonderful, and free, learning opportunities. Seminars on the web are called webinars, and many of them are free. Find the webinars that interest you by searching for the keywords that describe your interest. Huge Internet courses are referred to as MOOCs (massive open online courses). 8 Places to Find Free Educational VideosWhat Is TED?Free LecturesMIT Open CoursewareOpen Courseware ConsortiumThe Pros and Cons of MOOCs 04 of 05 Be a Mentor Fabrice LEROUGE - ONOKY - GettyImages-155298253 Teaching what you know, and the new things you've learned, can be one of the best, and most rewarding, ways of learning even more. Find a person in your community, youth or adult, who could use a mentor. Have lunch once a month, once a week, however often the two of you decide, and share your knowledge. Teaching What You LearnThe Hero's Journey: Meeting with the Mentor 05 of 05 Volunteer KidStock - Blend Images - GettyImages-533768927 Everyone I know who volunteers finds the experience far more rewarding than expected. I often hear people say, "I got so much more than I gave." And every one of them is surprised the first time. Volunteering is contagious. Do it once and you'll be hooked. You'll also learn new things. Every time. Be a volunteer.