It’s very common nowadays to hear about adults returning to school. With the rise of online learning institutions and adult learning scholarship programs, there are more viable options to study for a degree later in life. We previously noted here on Ed4Career how adult learners are a unique demographic that colleges need to better understand. For instance, they prefer working to their own schedule, come from a wide variety of academic and professional backgrounds, and are heavily motivated to progress. So why are many mature students returning to school?
Staying on Top of Trends
It's no secret that technological advancements are disrupting many industries. Systems like artificial intelligence and machine learning are streamlining tedious and labor-intensive work such as bookkeeping and recruiting new talent. AppStudio’s Director of Innovation and Partnerships, Vic Anand, highlighted technology-based ecosystems as an important factor for company growth. This just goes to show the importance of staying on top of tech trends, something that adult learners can learn in offline or online classrooms.
Continuing education allows professionals to hone industry-specific skills that are vital for them to progress further in careers. For example, nurses working in the US are required to periodically take courses so they can renew their licenses. This encourages nurses to develop a variety of skills, like critical thinking or communication that can help improve their quality of their work. Ed4Career provides several healthcare and medical courses on similar topics, plus much more.
More Career Advancement Opportunities
Most working adults pursue additional degrees to get higher salaries, get a promotion, or improve their own businesses. Entrepreneurs, for example, may want to get MBAs so that they are more effective business professionals. Fortunately, many top universities in the US offer online MBA degree programs, such as Carnegie Mellon University and Temple University.
Ed4Career also offers courses that can potentially lead to more promising career paths. For instance, accountants or finance professionals who dream of bigger roles may enroll in our “Start Your Own Bookkeeping Business” course.
Continuing education provides older students with opportunities to meet with professionals from various backgrounds. A LinkedIn survey on professionals show that 70% were hired due to networking. It is an essential skill to help career growth, because your connections can potentially open up job opportunities or provide mentorship in your chosen field.
Contrary to popular belief, distance learning can also open up possibilities for new connections, provided the programs follow a classroom setup. Maryville University explains how synchronous learning is undertaken online, stating that videoconferencing and messaging platforms are usually used. In contrast to asynchronous learning, which lets students work on the assignments whenever they like, synchronous learning requires students to be online at specific times. This makes the learning process a little closer to an on-campus set-up, as it allows students to freely interact with teachers and each other in real time. Some lecturers may even set group projects through synchronous learning programs, which can present further opportunities for networking.
Completing a higher education course is an accomplishment in itself. Since additional degrees and certificates open up the possibility of better qualifications, professionals gain more confidence in their abilities and credentials. Confidence is an important trait, so having that positive attitude can definitely give adult learners a professional advantage.
AUTHOR’S BIO: Pens&Roses is an HR director and part-time instructor with a passion for helping adult learners achieve their full potentials. When she’s not working, she enjoys rock climbing and hiking with her husband and their dog, Charlie.