Learning never ends ...
Deciding whether or not to go back to school can be daunting. As an adult learner you have a number of additional factors to consider that you may not have had the last time you were in school. You now have full time employment, a family, possibly a completely different life. Not only might you have scheduling concerns around yourself, but you also have to schedule around your family. The fear of being in a classroom environment again and the pressure of scheduling concerns can create enough anxiety to not pursue further education.
Western Continuing Studies takes this possible anxiety into consideration when planning and offering courses for adult learners. Two major changes have taken place over the last decade to accommodate adult learners. First, more classes are offered in a seminar style which incorporates open discussion with instructor facilitation. This style of learning has been adapted into programs as most students are familiar with this type of learning without being aware of it. It incorporates brainstorming techniques with a guided agenda, which could be equated with staff meetings or informal group training that often takes place within an organization. Seminar courses are also offered during the day usually between the hours of 9:00am and 4:00pm which may be similar to your working arrangement.
The second largest change is online learning. Many programs at Continuing Studies, for which the required duration and information presented surpasses that of a two day seminar, are offered online using a web based learning application called OWL. Online learning allows for an open schedule during which you can set your own pace and learning schedule, as well as the freedom to change that schedule when your personal and professional lives fluctuate. With online learning the classroom is where ever you are.
Consider what your goals are. Are you looking to change your career or move into a more advanced role in your current organization?
If this is your goal, talk to your human resources department about what education or skills learned will help you achieve your goals. Talk to your supervisor or employer about funding possibilities: many organizations offer tuition reimbursement for those trying to upgrade or learn new skills. Many organizations also offer education leave for students to attend seminar courses during the day for the same reason.
Alternatively, talk to people who are currently employed in a position similar to what you believe you would enjoy. How did they get where they are in their career? What is their past experience profile? What education would they find useful for their role? What skills do they have that benefit them in their role?
Communicate with your education provider. Continuing Studies has support staff that are ready to serve you and answer any questions you have before, during or after your experience as a returning student.