People learn from both formal and informal experiences. I have learned many things over the course of my adulthood.
First, I have done research for my novels. The idea of doing research for fiction sounds strange to some, but I do as much research for my fiction as I do for formal papers. Along the way, I have researched medical conditions like hyponatremia, the condition of having insufficient salt in the blood, which causes brain swelling. For a science fiction novel, I looked up several types of aerial combat maneuvers. Although I never directly name them in the book, I do describe them. For a fantasy novel, I learned and practiced two styles of Renaissance fencing and became familiar enough with them to make up a third one for the story. For this one, I learned with a group of friends. We found resources that taught us an Italian style and a few sporadic bits giving pointers on a Spanish one. Through these efforts, I learned many new things.
Not all of my learning has been those sorts of informal situations. After college, I went into technical support, but the field was too volatile, so I went back to school for a post-baccalaureate teaching certificate.
After that, I went into teaching. In Texas, teachers are required to get 150 hours of continuing education credit every five years (Texas Education Agency, 2013). That usually works out to five education-related workshops every year. Sometimes the district mandates what workshops teachers take, but sometimes the teacher chooses workshops of interest.
Most recently, I have finished a master’s program in adult learning .
Many adults take classes to improve themselves or their job skills. Ultimately, however, even adults who do not participate in formal education continue learning for the rest of their lives. Life presents new challenges in many different forms, and simply dealing with these trials will result in learning new information.
Texas Education Agency. (2013). Requirements for renewing my standard certificate. Retrieved from http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=5572