Educational Opportunities for Lifelong Learners

Educational Opportunities for Lifelong Learners

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After entering the workforce, many of us put learning behind us. Whether it's due to a lack of time or academic burnout, studying often falls by the wayside during middle age.

The retirement years offer more time and opportunities for learning. Whether you're looking to refresh your knowledge of a subject or are looking to study something entirely new, you can do it with the help of these excellent academic resources.



University, College, & Community College Courses


Universities and colleges have always been centers of knowledge. Most colleges allow mature learners to enroll in their classes alongside college students. Others allow seniors to audit classes for free. Community college also remains a popular choice for seniors looking to explore new subjects and develop their skills.


A number of colleges and universities now offer tuition waivers for senior citizens. This means that seniors can take college courses at a fraction of their regular price. This practical guide from the Senior Citizen Guide for College lists waiver information for most U.S. colleges and universities. Canadian and U.K. colleges may also offer tuition discounts to seniors. Contact local universities for more information.



Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)


Learners of all ages and nationalities are enrolling in massive online open courses (MOOCs) every single day! MOOCs are offered by some of the most esteemed universities worldwide, including Harvard, MIT, and the Australian National University.

Two of the most respected MOOC providers are Coursera and edX. Both sites offer hundreds of courses, many of which can be audited for free. Certificates of completion are generally available for an affordable fee. Coursera's specialization programs are ideal for seniors who wish to study a subject at a deeper level. These multi-course programs often run for a number of months. Coursera is perhaps one of the best learning resources for seniors from lower-income backgrounds; students can apply for financial aid if they cannot afford to enroll in a paid course.



Learning Apps


Many seniors today own their own smartphones and tablets. Those who do will generally have access to the Apple App Store or Google Play. Both stores offer a number of educational apps which can be used to learn new things.

Duolingo and Memrise are two incredible language-learning apps. These apps challenge users to learn new languages through flashcard-style vocabulary exercises and grammar activities. Whether you're interested in learning a standard language like Spanish or German or a more exotic language like Korean or Ukrainian, these two applications can help you on your route to speaking proficiency. Both applications are available on desktop browsers as well.

Other apps exist for a variety of subjects. App provider SoloLearn offers applications teaching various computer programming languages, ranging from C++ to Python. SkyView Free is an impressive app that can be used to identify stars, satellites, and constellations. The First Aid app by the American Red Cross teaches users how to properly handle emergency situations. Science lovers can indulge in Science360, an app that offers high-quality pictures and videos from the National Science Foundation. Though there's not yet an application available for every academic subject, these incredible apps are a great start.



Universities' Online Degree Programs


If you've never pursued higher education before, you may be interested in earning a bachelor's degree. Today, a number of well-known universities offer bachelor's and master's degrees online. Though these programs are often quite expensive, they are generally more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. As with MOOCs and learning apps, online degrees can be completed from the comfort of your own home.

Arizona State University, for instance, is one of the top providers of online degrees. Learners looking to obtain a bachelor's can study subjects ranging from political science to nutrition communication. Those looking to further their education or start a second career can pursue master's degrees or graduate certificates in a wide variety of subjects. Penn State'S World Campus and the University of Central Florida Online are two other providers of quality online degrees. For those looking to study a subject in depth, these online university programs are worth considering.



In Conclusion:


The educational opportunities available to seniors are broader than ever before. From joining a culinary class at a community college to enrolling in an online psychology course, the possibilities for learning are virtually limitless.

Are you tired of evenings spent staring at the TV screen? Download an app, grab a course catalogue, or sign up for an online class today!



Photo: (c) Monkey Business /

Editor, 04/14/2016