Probably one of the most common pieces of advice that high school and college graduation speakers across the nation will be offering this month is a simple three-word directive:

Never. Stop. Learning.

That’s because the wisest in our society have figured out that you simply never know it all. That those who stop moving forward immediately fall behind. And that as our collective attention span seems to shorten almost daily, you need to have a ready answer to this question: “what have you learned lately?”

That’s why the education industry continues to boom, and diversify. Call it what you want—continuing education, post-graduate studies, lifelong learning. Those are all simply different flavors of the same type of mental nutrition, designed to help you continue to grow and move ahead.

Used to be, back in the stone age, that graduate school took one basic form: going back to college. And that’s probably still, in many ways, the most rigorous and enriching form of advanced learning; the one-on-one enlightenment to be gained by certified experts in a formalized structure has long been a surefire way to enhance one’s knowledge in one’s field.   

But today, it’s far from the only way.

Traditional grad school requires considerable time and often formidable financial resources, and if you find yourself running short on either, you may need to seek alternate avenues of learning.

Online studies through accredited higher education institutions can be a reasonable substitute—the one-on-one experience may be a little less satisfying, but the flexibility that medium provides can be a prime benefit for many.

Now, I’m not just talking about graduate degrees, but also a wide variety of online certifications in a huge number of business and technical fields. But there are countless other ways to further your education. Hiring a coach or consultant who can provide guidance is another pursuit that can prove extremely valuable.  Podcasts, YouTube, and TikTok videos are additional ways to quench your educational thirst.

The online world offers access to an endless array of resources and providers, which, although sometimes overwhelming, can offer a direct and more granular path to fill a very specific need. Online classes, industry expertise programs and specific courses, and certification testing provide more ways to continue to sharpen the saw.

(And we’ll let you in on a little secret—we are about to launch something that will offer exactly this…stay tuned!)

In a way, an online relationship with an expert can almost serve as a virtual mentorship—forging a direct connection with a trusted professional or brand, and coming away enhanced, renewed, and better for the experience. This can be done via a group experience as well, which can prove even more beneficial—learning from your colleagues and peers can increase the educational value exponentially!

The Internet age has certainly made continued and lifelong learning more accessible than ever before, but at the same time, it has also put more responsibility upon the consumer. However, with a little bit of investigation and time spent seeking out relevant reviews, recommendations, and referrals, you can usually find a good option.

Regardless of what type of road you choose, just remember: Never. Stop. Learning.  

So take that road, and GROW BIG…..or GO HOME!