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Adult education programs provide an affordable opportunity to learn a new skill or take up a new subject. Maybe there's a musical instrument you've wanted to play since you were a kid or a science class you would have signed up for in college if you hadn't had to worry about your grade point average.

You can find online and onsite classes for adults on everything from acoustic guitar to zoology. Not only are these educational experiences available at little or no cost, but because they're not for credit, they usually come with no tests, no grades and no pressure. You can simply sign up and indulge in the pure fun of learning.

Here are three cost-effective ways to expand your knowledge.

If your goal is to acquire some serious technical or creative skills to boost your career or perhaps start a new business venture, check out This website, owned by LinkedIn, offers nearly 6,000 online courses in software development, web development, business, photography and design. After a free 30-day trial, the average monthly cost is $19.99 for the basic package or $29.99 for the premium package, which includes extra features like project files – AKA homework for practicing your new skill – and offline viewing capabilities so you can read lessons on the go.

Want to start a blog about one of your favorite hobbies or causes? You might be interested in the course WordPress Essential Training. You'll discover how to create and publish a blog or website on the popular WordPress platform and promote your publication on social media. Or, if you have entrepreneurial inklings, you may want to enroll in Small Business Secrets to learn from a professional business coach about how to write a business plan, choose the right product or service, pursue financing and master other aspects of running a successful business.

YouTube Educational Videos

There's no rule that says you have to put your newfound knowledge to practical use. For dabblers and explorers, YouTube can be a great place to hang out. Search for just about any topic that sparks your curiosity and you're bound to come up with an extensive list of educational and tutorial videos to choose from.

You can also subscribe to YouTube EDU, which automatically aggregates popular educational videos. Some of YouTube's most popular videos about art, history, foreign languages, science, health and a host of other subjects are conveniently curated on this channel.

The best part of these adult education programs? They're absolutely free.

Lifelong Learning Programs

If you prefer having the camaraderie of classmates and a teacher you can talk to in person, search for adult education courses in your area. Many such programs are sponsored by the Bernard Osher Foundation. More than 100 Osher Lifelong Learning Institutes, located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, offer free and low-cost non-credit courses and lectures on a wide range of subjects at colleges and community centers.

If you'd like to take up wildlife photography to chronicle your retirement travel adventures, trace your family tree or learn some political history to make your dinnertime conversations livelier, you may find just the right class at a Lifelong Learning Institute near you.

Adult education programs offer plenty of options for anyone looking for an affordable way to learn new skills and explore new ideas. Take a step toward becoming a student again by learning more about the educational opportunities available to you.

This information and recommendations contained herein is compiled from sources deemed reliable, but is not represented to be accurate or complete. In providing this information, neither KeyBank nor its affiliates are acting as your agent or is offering any tax, accounting, or legal advice.

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