Lifelong learners hungry for educational programs while traveling

What's a faculty member with wanderlust to do? Take your lectures to sea, Pat Donachie writes for Education Dive.

Edward Lynch, a professor of international relations at Virginia-based Hollins University, uses his school breaks to become a visiting professor—on cruise ships.  For the past 16 years, Lynch has taught tourists the history, geography, politics, and culture of the places they are visiting. He's done this aboard 24 different cruise ships, lecturing to up to 250 people at a time.

Demand for lifelong learning programs is on the rise—the New York Times reported in 2016 that some programs have waiting lists hundreds of names long. A recent poll also found that personal learners are more likely to pursue their educational hobbies offline, such as at a community center, museum, local college, religious center, library—or, apparently, cruise ships.

Who are today's lifelong learners, and where do they learn?

This past summer, Lynch visited French Polynesia, Bermuda, Canada, northern Europe, and the Baltics, according to Donachie. In the past, he's been able to visit East Africa as well.

Lynch says he tries to find ways to make his cruise ship lectures feel personalized, despite the large audience. He includes pictures and personal narratives to keep the lecture from being too cold or academic.

Lynch adds that he's able to re-use much of what he learns and lectures about during his time abroad once he returns to Hollins. For example, his visit to Africa informed not just his political research and but also his lectures back on campus (Donachie, Education Dive, 10/12).

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