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Learn More about Continuing Education

By Joseph, published on 26/08/2019 Blog > Professional Development > Personal Development > Continuing Education at a Glance

“Non est ad astra mollis e terris via” (There is no easy way from the earth to the stars) – Seneca

Continuing education is an opportunity to go back to school once you’ve started working. Whether you want to further your career or change careers, there’s training and courses available for everyone.

Most people accept that training is important when it comes to working. However, fewer people know exactly how they can go about this. In some cases, the training they find isn’t right for them.

To make things clearer, in this article, we’re going to look at the different ways to get back to studying, going back to uni, distance learning, MOOCs, and training.

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Continuing Education at University

Not all education is available to those who’ve already been through the education system and joined the workforce. After you’ve been to school, you can’t go back. However, you can apply to universities as a mature student.

Why should you go back to university? If you want to change careers or further your current one, you might want to go back to uni. (Source: Goodfreephotos_com)

Mature students are those who start the first year of their degree aged 21 or over. You can attend university or even opt for distance learning.

You’ll be attending the same courses as the other students. The only real difference between mature students and those going straight into university from school is age. Adults and young students will be in the same classes. You’ll hear the same lectures, attend the same seminars, and take the same exams. There are only a few administrative differences.

This is particularly true when it comes to financing your courses. There are different types of financial support for different people. You can find out more about these from student finance.

Any adult can apply to university courses. You’ll have to put together an application like any other student. Sometimes, you’ll have to put together a covering letter, personal statement, or attend an interview. Similarly, you’ll do your application through UCAS like those applying directly from secondary school or college.

The advantage of studying at university is that you can come out with a qualification. Over half of mature students are aged between 21 and 24, 38 per cent between 25 and 39, and 10 per cent are over 40. With so many courses to choose from, it’s no surprise that there are a lot of mature students.

At university, you can study an undergraduate degree, master’s degree, PhD, as well as many other diplomas and qualifications. You can also get qualifications that grant access to university degree courses. These courses are shorter than an undergraduate degree and master’s degree courses, which is useful if you can’t take a lot of time off work to train. There are also night classes for those who need to study around their work schedule.

If you’re returning to education, you might want to look at need-based financial aid. This won’t affect whether or not you’re considered for admission, either, so it’s worth checking out.

Similarly, the entry requirements for mature students are the same as any other student and the tuition fees won’t change. As we said, there are bursaries and financial assistance available. There’s also financial support to help you pay for childcare if you’re over 20 and in further education.

Find out more about the benefits of being a mature student.

Distance Learning

Thanks to the internet, lifelong learning has changed. You can now share courses across the web and make them accessible to a huge number of people. Many universities have been convinced to share their courses online and it’s changed the way adults learn.

What is distance learning? Thanks to the internet, distance learning has never been easier! (Source: StockSnap)

MOOCs

This stands for “massive open online course”. The unique thing about these courses is that they take place online. There’s no limit to how many people can study the course and they can study when they want and when they want.

The most popular MOOCs in the world include EdX, Coursera, Khan Academy, Udemy, Canvas, FutureLearn, Udacity, and Open Education Europa. MOOCs have been a teaching revolution. You can freely access the resources and forums to discuss with your fellow students and your teachers. You’ll also still have to do homework and assignments and at the end of your course, you can request a certificate.

Many MOOCs are offered by some of the world’s best universities, too. While you won’t enjoy the student life, you can study the same modules as undergraduate students at the actual universities themselves.

This means you could be studying a physics module from Harvard! While certain courses take place regularly throughout the year, there’s still an application deadline so you might want to apply now.

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What are MOOCs? Many universities are offering courses on digital platforms. (Source: janeb13)

The Open University

The Open University is the UK’s biggest university for undergraduate education since most of its students study off-campus through distance learning. It’s also one of Europe’s largest universities in terms of student numbers and one of the world’s largest as well and dates back to 1969.

In addition to its undergraduate courses, there are also postgraduate modules available to study and PhDs available. If you don’t have the time to be a full-time undergraduate, the part-time study options are a great way for adult learners to follow their chosen course while still working.

Private Organisations

Private organisations are offering online training and education for those wanting to learn new skills or change careers. Make sure you do your research and find out exactly which qualifications these places offer. In some cases, these qualifications can be quite costly. However, they are a good alternative for certain individuals.

Whatever you choose to do, distance learning is a useful way to study wherever you are while also being able to keep working.

Find out more about the cost of being a mature student.

Recognised Qualifications and Training

Your new qualification must be recognised and valid for what you need it for. You don’t want to study a course and find out that nobody recognises it or that it’s worthless. Do your research and make sure that potential employers (or your current employers) recognise your new qualification.

This isn’t usually a problem with undergraduate degrees, master’s degrees, or PhDs, but it can be a problem with certain qualifications from private organisations or industry-specific qualifications that aren’t often as transferable as widely-recognised degrees. Just like studying itself, make sure you do a lot of research! Fortunately for you, there are lots of services and resources out there.

With the right training and qualifications, you could get a promotion, a new job, or a new career! Consider attending open days, carefully checking the admission requirements, and contacting student services at the universities if you’re interested.

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This isn’t usually a problem with undergraduate degrees, master’s degrees, or PhDs, but it can be a problem with certain qualifications from private organisations or industry-specific qualifications that aren’t often as transferable as widely-recognised degrees. Just like studying itself, make sure you do a lot of research! Fortunately for you, there are lots of services and resources out there.

With the right training and qualifications, you could get a promotion, a new job, or a new career! Consider attending open days, carefully checking the admission requirements, and contacting student services at the universities if you’re interested.

Read more about deciding on what to study as a mature student.

What training is available for mature students? You might just need to train in a particular skill rather than attending a full course at university. (Source: Free-Photos)

You might even benefit from professional training from private tutors. Give it a go! They can help you with applying to university, ensuring you’re offered a place on the course you’re interested in, or catching up if you’re returning to study after a while. After all, while you may have plenty of work experience, your study skills may be a little rusty!

On Superprof, you can find life coaches, career tutors, and academic support tutors. There are three types of tutorial available: face-to-face tutorials, online tutorials, and group tutorials. Each type of tutorial comes with its pros and cons and you’ll need to think about your budget and your goals when choosing which one to go for.

Face-to-face tutorials are between you and your tutor. As the only student in the class, you’ll benefit from tailored sessions and your tutor’s undivided attention. While these are often the most costly type of private tutorial, they’re also the most cost-effective thanks to how much time your tutor can spend focusing on you.

Online tutorials are similar to face-to-face tutorials in terms of the tutor-student ratio but your tutor won’t be in the room with you. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can now get private tutoring via webcam using video conferencing software such as Skype. While not ideal for hands-on subjects, online tutorials are great for academic subjects and they’re often cheaper than the face-to-face tutorials since the tutor doesn’t need to factor travel costs into their rates.

Finally, group tutorials are when you’re taught alongside other students in a group. With several students footing the bill, these tutorials often work out cheaper per student per hour. While cheaper, it does mean you won’t get as much attention from your tutor as they’ll need to focus on several students at once. Unfortunately, this all means that they can’t tailor their sessions to you as they’ll need to take the other students’ needs, strengths and weaknesses, and goals into account when planning their lessons.

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