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This was a fun topic to research! I tumbled down many rabbit holes and happily lingered for hours. I was immediately engaged due to the number of choices at my fingertips.
This article will offer some in-person class information as well as a curated list of online resources to search, (go forth and create your own rabbit holes!) depending on your interests.
Edtech (education technology), like its cousins fintech and insuretech, is a rapidly accelerating industry and changing our access to education. This is particularly helpful for late-stage career professionals and retirees. Of course, the pandemic accelerated this shift as evidenced by the following statistics:
There are degree and non-degree options and certificate programs, as well as just enrichment options. The best part is the number of free courses. Let’s dive in!
For the in-person learners, check out your local community colleges and universities. As an example, The College of Lake County has several adult enrichment offerings as well as the opportunity to enroll in courses that may be applied to degree programs if approved. If you are not a resident of Illinois, check your city and state institutions. Each offers something different.
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute has programs at over 125 colleges and universities specifically geared toward lifelong learners. Do a google search- ‘Osher near me’. Course topics range from current events to cultural trends, history, music, and beyond. Many programs are offered online as well as in-person. The University of Illinois provides both options and has a robust course selection. The cost is reasonable (the average fee is $40). A membership to sign up for courses is required. A 6-month membership is currently $90.
Online Learning Resources
Some of the best tools are the platforms that aggregate information from institutions and companies across the country and the world. It makes the search much more efficient. Three of the most popular are
COURSERA.org is an online platform that aggregates both free and fee courses from educational institutions and companies all over the world. There are so many options!
EDx.org is another online platform that offers the same thing. One key difference is EDx is a nonprofit and Coursera is a for-profit company. Check out this helpful article that describes similarities and differences.
MOOC.org is a division of EDx and offers only free courses. Mooc stands for massive open online classes.
A fun site to explore is MIT Open Courseware. MIT makes offers, at no cost, of hundreds of undergraduate and graduate level classes on video. Check out Gary Gensler’s Blockchain and Money.
Other Interesting Finds: Post Career
There are some very interesting curricula for post-retirement career professionals who would like to pivot in another direction. For instance, Harvard provides post-career programming through its Institute for Learning in Retirement. Stanford offers the Distinguished Careers Institute. Tuition and fees can be $60,000 plus. Other similar programs include Notre Dames’ Inspired Leadership Initiative, the University of Texas’ Tower Fellows Program, and the University of Minnesota’s Advanced Career’s Initiative (currently on pause).
Resources for Early and Mid-Career
It is now possible to acquire graduate degrees completely online. It makes the commitment much more manageable, particularly if you travel or have a family. Both Coursera and Edx can provide many options depending on your area of interest.
If you are looking for ways to enhance your employees’ leadership skills, explore execonline. Execonline partners with top business schools to deliver programming that provides organizational impact, in a good way!
Whatever your interest, no doubt you will find a myriad of choices. Have fun! Let us know what you choose! firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Leslie Meisner, RMA, Director of Marketing, avid and humble learner.