Learn New Things, Meet New People - NIU Online Lifelong Learning Sessions Starting Soon

Jan 7, 2021

Your education doesn’t have to stop when you graduate. The Lifelong Learning Institute at Northern Illinois University has upcoming online sessions for those who have an appetite for knowledge.

Stock image of online learning.
Credit https://pixabay.com/

Jason Klein, the director of P-20 initiatives at NIU, said that absorbing knowledge keeps us young. 

“I have been lucky enough to work in some educational settings,” he shared, “where I've been able to learn a lot of the applied brain research to learning and we know that humans can continue to build neural connections, at all ages and we also shed neural connections as we learn new things.” 

The classes for the NIU Lifelong Learning Institute normally take place on campus, but COVID-19 shifted things to the internet last fall.  

Klein suggested that the online setup is creating even more connections because participants are joining from different states.   

“We know one of the great hopes of the internet was how it could bring people closer together and allow us to be more human with one another,” Klein said. “That is certainly the case with what is taking place through LLI [Lifelong Learning Institute] in our remote Zoom based sessions this year."

Klein said this is also a social group. A weekly lunchtime Zoom session took place for four weeks after fall classes ended.

“So that's been cool trying to both meet the instructional needs or desires of the group as well as the social and emotional needs of the group by providing those opportunities,” Klein said.

Most attendees are retired individuals but others can join. Classes are facilitated by a variety of people. This includes NIU faculty and even past participant volunteers, who are experts in certain topics.

The first class starts Jan. 19. The registration form is available through the prior week. Anyone who wants to sign up for classes after that can reach out to the NIU Lifelong Learning Institute. The fee is $25 and allows students to take whatever classes they like. Six courses are available. Some include “Topics in Human Anatomy,” “Great Twentieth Century Poetry” and “The Good Natured Hour.”  

  • Yvonne Boose is a 2020 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.