Continuing Education Offers A World of Options and Benefits to Mature Learners

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    Dec 11, 2013
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Continuing Education Offers A World of Options and Benefits to Mature Learners Photo by Jason White

Continuing Education (CE) is exactly what it sounds like: education provided for adults after they have left the formal education system, typically consisting of short or part-time courses. This structure serves to benefit a multitude of people, including those who are already in their chosen field and wish to upgrade their skills to apply for a more advanced position or those who may not have completed their post-secondary program and wish to do so. However, the CE structure is also ideal for learners who are not able to afford full-time education or have the luxury of time because of life's other commitments.

At Centennial College, this particular School of Study that caters to mature students consists of three distance learning options — part-time evening, weekend and online courses and programs. Every year, some 22,000 people take advantage of the options. Centennial College's School of CE facilitates more than 160 certificate and diploma programs, and more than 1,200 different courses.

The most traditional CE option is taking part-time courses at one of Centennial College's four campuses. Each campus — Ashtonbee, Progress, Morningside and Centre for Creative Communications — is geared towards a certain School of Study. For example, students who are enrolled in Business courses attend classes during the evenings and weekends at Progress Campus, which is the school's largest location. Meanwhile, those in a media education program are based at the Centre for Creative Communications, which contains the latest tools of the trade as well as modern facilities. The advantage of taking CE courses on campus is that students receive all the traditional learning tools such as class discussions, one-on-one time with an instructor, a rigid structure that will help them to ensure they are fully grasping topics, hands-on application and sometimes even field placement experience.

If, on the other hand, a student is more of a self-directed learner, he or she may opt for one of two other continuing education options. The first is online classes, which gives them access to a 24/7 virtual classroom. This online environment mocks a real classroom through discussion boards where students can exchange ideas and email communication with instructors when clarification is needed. However, the majority of learning is completed independently so learners must ensure that they are comfortable teaching themselves and being self-motivated to complete the required work. The second CE option that sees students learning outside of the classroom is Print-Based Correspondence. Unlike the part-time and online classes, in this option learning is almost entirely self-directed because students are mailed their course materials at the beginning of the semester to complete within a certain amount of time. Students may call or email professors but there is no correspondence with other students.

Author's Profile

Emma uses her article to demonstrate the ways in which Continuing Education is beneficial to students who are not able to attend full-time classes but still wish to obtain a post-secondary education. In doing so, she promotes Centennial College.

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