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SALT LAKE CITY — Education should never be underestimated. As your knowledge increases, you ability to grow in positive ways will increase as well.

There has been a lot of talk about education in recent times. Unfortunately, it has not all been positive. The truth is, we should always be willing to learn. Our ability to learn outside the classroom is becoming more and more important.

From his speech titled “The Purpose of Education,” the great educator Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “It seems to me that education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture. Education must enable a man to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life.”

So, you know education is important, but if the classroom route just is not in your plans, how can you continue to learn? Try any or all of the following methods:

Take an online course

One of the best and most popular ways to increase your knowledge and skills is through different types of online training. Here are a few excellent resources that use technology for training and continued learning:

Skillsoft (previously Element K): Whether you are looking to increase your business acumen, develop more as a leader or become certified in the field of IT, www.elementk.com is an excellent source. It's a training and learning resource that has many different modalities to learn from. As you browse the website, it won't take long to find something that to increase your knowledge.

OnLine Training Institute: The main focus of the OnLine Training Institute is on “Learning a Living.” The website www.oltraining.com focuses more on insurance and continuing professional education courses but also contains many great resources with a click of a mouse. For those looking for a career boost, this may be a great place to start with the flexibility you want and the learning you need.

Foundation Center: For those that have interest in the non-profit world, foundationcenter.org is a wonderful resource that provides a number of learning opportunities. Whether you are looking to start your own non-profit, learn how one is structured and runs, or simply wanting to become more involved, this is a resource you will not want to miss. Take advantage of the courses and trainings offered, because many are free.

The websites mentioned are but a very small sample of what opportunities are out there to continue your learning and education outside the classroom.

Get out into the community

There are truly no limits to how one can learn, and although the structure of the classroom is very beneficial in helping provide context and baselines of knowledge, what we learn once we leave the classroom can often become just as important and useful.

For those who are not as willing or passionate about online resources, there are other great ways to continue your learning. Some of these ways may include going on family field trips to places you have never been before, volunteering in the community and attending local workshops that pique your curiosity.

Teach yourself and others

One of the easiest ways to learn something new is to simply open a book, especially one that really makes you think. Beyond that, one of the great ways to learn outside the classroom is by actually taking the time to teach others. Find something you are good at, passionate about and teach someone. You may be surprised at just how much you walk away with in knowledge and learning.

In that same speech by Dr. King, he said, “We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character — that is the goal of true education. The complete education gives one not only power of concentration, but worthy objectives upon which to concentrate. The broad education will, therefore, transmit to one not only the accumulated knowledge of the race but also the accumulated experience of social living.”



Seth Saunders is currently branch president of the Pembroke Branch (Spanish) and President of the Pink Shoe Hero Foundation. Seth has been married 16 years to his amazing wife Amber and is the proud father of three wonderful sons.
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