5 Options for Continuing Learning Online
A woman studying in front of a laptop.

Online Courses for Older Adults

Older adults and seniors are constantly looking at taking college courses in their free time. For most, it’s not about learning a new skill that they can use in the workforce. Instead, it’s about learning something new that they have always wanted to learn, or about developing a skill that will come in handy during their daily lives. Both The University of Arizona and Walden University offer online courses that older adults are eligible to enroll in.

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Plus, with some careful searching, many colleges offer online courses entirely free to senior citizens. Here are some online courses for older adults that will be of interest to many different people.

The University of Arizona

The University of Arizona offers full degrees, diplomas and individual courses online, so there are plenty of options depending on what you're interested in learning. For older adults, individual course options are ideal as they allow you to explore interests and learn more about topics in a fun yet educational way.

Individual course options for personal interests include Introduction to Psychology, First Semester Spanish, Fundamentals of Food Science and more.

Walden University

Similar to The University of Arizona, Walden University also offers online degrees, diplomas and individual courses. They also have a School of Lifelong Learning which was created specifically for adults who want to grow their skillsets, participate in professional development and explore interests in a non-degree setting. These options are offered as either "for-credit courses" or "professional development" depending on the topic.

Popular courses include Essentials of Human Anatomy and Physiology, Nutritional Science, Nonprofit Budget Essentials, Writing with Confidence and Purpose, World Geography and more.

1. Harvard University: Modern Masterpieces of World Literature

How interesting would it be to be able to proclaim that you are taking a course through Harvard University?

Most people live extremely busy lives as they work full-time and are constantly taking care of their family. But once retirement settles in, you can catch up on things that you have always wanted to do. For example, most of us have a pile of books we have been meaning to read for decades.

If you aren’t sure where to begin when constructing your reading list, the course Modern Masterpieces of World Literature could help guide you. It is only an eight-week class, too, so it is not a huge commitment.

2. Udemy: Learn a Musical Instrument

How many of us have always wanted to learn a musical instrument but just haven’t found the time? Now that you are retired, it is time to achieve a lifelong goal. There are countless online courses for learning how to play an instrument. Whether you want to learn to play guitar, piano or the violin, an online college course is a great way to start.

Udemy has multiple online courses that you can check out. They are affordable and can be done at your own pace. Options include keyboard, ukulele, violin, drums, guitar and more. The biggest hurdle here may be getting your hands on an instrument, but once you do there are plenty of learning opportunities.

3. The University of Toronto: Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise

Older adults need to constantly be aware of their diet and their fitness level if they want to experience a high quality of life during their golden years. After all, what good is living to 90 if you are bedridden for two decades in poor health?

Managing Your Health: The Role of Physical Therapy and Exercise is a completely free online course that will detail how physical health is tied to positive emotional health and has the ability to strengthen the mind as well. With the knowledge learned in this course, a person could help avoid arthritis, cardiovascular disease and even types of cancer.

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4. Udemy: Personal Finance 101: Everything You Need to Know

Udemy has thousands of online courses available in various subjects, and quite a number of them are entirely free. Most older adults are weary of their finances as they try to determine if they have enough money to last through their whole retirement. A course on finance is a great place to start gaining some knowledge so they can be certain their funds will last.

Personal Finance 101: Everything You Need to Know is just a three-hour class and it tackles the very basics, but there is enough good material in it that will open your eyes to keeping your finances healthy.

5. Heimdal Security: Cybersecurity for Beginners

Online attacks can happen to anyone. Someone can hack into your home computer or phone regardless of your age. However, it seems many of these vicious people enjoy targeting seniors.

Heimdal Security offers Cybersecurity for Beginners entirely free and it is only a five-week course. In this course, you can learn how to safely set up a security system for your home network, how to detect possible online threats, ways to detect and avoid destructive viruses and tips on protecting your personal data along with your email and social media.

Just the Tip of the Iceberg

With thousands of both free and paid options for online courses, older adults and seniors can easily keep themselves busy and learn tons of new things in the process. All it takes is a quick online search to find what courses you’re interested in, and a stable internet connection to complete the work.

And even though they may be retired, with what they learn, they could make some sort of monetary benefit from their course completion.

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