Take a course and learn something new

Convenience: Online courses can be short or long, and many can also be started at any time then completed at your own pace. Photos: Shutterstock.

Convenience: Online courses can be short or long, and many can also be started at any time then completed at your own pace. Photos: Shutterstock.

Here's a question for you. What would you like to learn?

We all have various things we're interested in that we'd like to know more about, or skills we'd like to acquire or improve upon.

Whether it's expanding your capabilities for your current job, practical knowledge that will help you secure employment, or just an area of interest that is (or could soon be) a pleasurable hobby, adult education and community courses offer you a great way to get there.

Courses can be either short or long. For classes you attend they may be as short as a day or a weekend, or they may extend over a series of weeks or weekends.

For convenience, there are plenty of courses that can start or end anytime that the organisers want them to, they don't have to stick to the traditional semester structure. They could even slot them neatly into the school holiday period so that senior high school students can participate if they wish.

Many online courses can be started any time that you're ready, and plenty of these are very flexible as well, allowing you to complete them at your own pace so it doesn't interfere with your other responsiblities.

ACCREDITED OR

INTRODUCTORY?

In terms of professional development (and in the context of taxation law) the federal government says adult education is "study or instruction that is likely to add to the employment related skills of people undertaking the course". The reason for tax legislation is because some courses are exempt from GST, and some professionals can claim the learning costs on their income tax.

Helpfully, if cost would be a barrier there are quite a number of courses that are heavily subsidised by various levels of government to make them more accessible to everyone. Local community groups also generally try to make their courses as accessible as possible.

Aside from cost, in terms of professional development or taking a logical step towards future study, you would want to look at whether the attainment you gain from completing the course is recognised by a relevant authority or organisation. That could be the peak body of the industry it relates to (such as child care, swimming instruction or psychology), it could be Nationally Recognised Training, or it could be an attainment that counts as Recognised Prior Learning towards a higher level course you want to do in the future. In some cases it could be all three of those.

However, some courses are meant to be introductory or build on what you already know for personal development, and they can be very interesting and useful.

For instance, when your interest in the course is related to a hobby like photography or a life skill like cooking, then you'll be more interested in simply expanding your knowledge, or the immediate practical application of getting better at that everyday task.

Purpose: Classes might be accredited for professional development towards a career, or instead meant for personal development of your interests or life skills.

Purpose: Classes might be accredited for professional development towards a career, or instead meant for personal development of your interests or life skills.

GET INVOLVED

Among the courses that are short or long, online or local, and meant for either your professional or personal development, there are thousands of options to choose from. Just have a think about what you like, and what you want to get from the course, then go for it.

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