Continuing your education

Learning something new helps keep your mind active and can expand perspective even for older Canadians.

Thanks to universities, non-profit groups and other organizations there are several opportunities for seniors looking to pick up a new skill or even earn a degree later in life.

Education opportunities for Canadian seniors include public lectures, library classes and even university courses that cost little to nothing if you are over the age of 65.

Open options

Public lectures can be offered by universities, cultural organizations like museums or art galleries and even by seniors’ organizations like the Ontario Society of Senior Citizens. The group holds workshops every Tuesday covering a variety of topics.

Ontario is also home to the only Seniors Educational Conference and Fair. An event that helps connect those over 55 years of age to organizations, products and opportunities to continue their education. 

University options

Some of Canada’s top universities charge no tuition for older citizens or residents. Schools like the University of British Columbia, York University and Ryerson permit those over 65 seeking to take bachelor degree subjects for free.

Seniors may also opt to audit a course, which means that you can attend lectures of the class at the college or university but won’t need to do the homework or extra work involved. It also means, however, that you won’t get credit for the class.

Universities also offer online programs and classes that can be taken no matter where you life. So, you could learn from MIT even if you live in Regina, Saskatchewan. Each university has different classes offered and different requirements of participants.

Online/distance options

There are also MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses), which are classes taught online to several participants in different locations. Classes are usually done by organizations or non-profit groups that extend over a few weeks or months.

An alternative to an online course is a webinar, which is usually just a one-off lectures or discussion on a subject where the participants are able to ask questions of the instructor or experts in an informal, online setting.

There are also a variety of online opportunities to learn new skills. Sites like Skillshare or Udemy offer users access to experts in a variety of fields. These video lectures can help older Canadians learn things like computer skills and design, business and marketing techniques or even a new language.

Older Canadians can also be the teacher. Through tutoring programs seniors can help equip a younger generation for the world. These experiences have proven to be beneficial learning ones for everyone involved.

Whether you are seeking out formal education experiences or just want to learn a new skill, there are countless opportunities across the country for those over 55 years.

​Written by Chandra Lye

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