Leading distance learning provider Open Study College has revealed a significant shift in its demographic. There has been a 39% increase in new student enrolments from those aged 60 and over.
The statistic is based on figures comparing 2018 enrolments with those in 2020 during the global pandemic.
Open Study College
As part of research undertaken by Open Study College, there are a number of reasons people typically choose to follow the distance learning route including: those who are unable to physically attend a college or university due to suffering with mental or physical health; caring for family and home responsibilities whilst learning; individuals looking to upskill; or students that need to learn new skills and gain necessary qualifications for a new or change in career.
More recently however, a pattern has emerged as a significant number of older students have joined Open Study College purely because they want to keep on learning in their later years about subjects that are of interest to them, providing purpose and keeping their minds active.
Keep The Intellect Alive
John, 74, from South Gloucestershire said: “It’s important to keep the intellect alive in later years and completing a course and receiving the accreditation acts as a tremendous boost to one’s mental health.”
Marilyn, 70, from Truro said: “I am 70 going on 29 years old. Physically I am doomed but will not be mentally. This is my tenth course with Open Study College, and I hope there will be more. To retirees thinking about taking a course online I would say ‘go for it’.”
Linda, 75, from Worcestershire said: “I am enjoying the course at Open Study College and I’m lucky to have been able to choose, for the first time, what it is I study.”
Keep Learning New Skills
CEO of Open Study College, Samantha Rutter, said: “Learning new skills shouldn’t stop when retirement starts. We couldn’t be prouder of all the students in the Open Study College family. Those that are continuing to study and excite their minds well into retirement really help solidify our ethos of making education accessible to all.
“It’s interesting to see how life-changing events such as the global pandemic can contribute to how people chose to spend their free time. In our research it’s clear that some of our older students are keen to keep on learning about subject matters that really interests them or was once integral to their careers and lives.
Learning More Accessible Than Ever
“This increase in older generations studying proves that learning is more accessible than ever before. We work incredibly hard to ensure that we adapt our courses for the young and young at heart. Many of our courses come with the option of studying online or via a paper-based study pack where course materials are sent to your home. We know that this is often a preferred method of studying with our more mature learners.
“Our student support team and personal tutors are also on hand to guide students through their course. For those with additional needs we can provide our materials in larger fonts or on coloured paper where required. Making learning more accessible is always going to be one of our top priorities. Indeed we hope to see more retirees benefit from learning with us.”