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This content is taken from the University of York's online course, Returning to Education as a Mature Student. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 4 seconds This week, we will look at what a mature learner is and put that into an historical context. We will hear from current and former returner learners about their individual perceptions of education settings, ‘that big place up on the hill’ that only others are allowed in, and explore ways to overcome past negative educational experiences, that may have left people feeling that they have no entitlement to be part of a course, a programme or module, and that at any moment, they expect someone to tell them there has been a mistake and that they shouldn’t have been given a place after all, even when they are doing really well and achieving successful feedback.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 seconds You will also hear from support staff here at the University of York about the ways in which they work with learners to develop confidence, self-belief and academic skills for success during their time here. Through support statements, you will also hear just how valuable it is for everyone within a learning setting to have mature students on courses, so join us for week one of this course to look at some of your current barriers to learning so that we can help you find a way back to education.


Welcome to our course on mature learners.

Over the next two weeks we will be exploring the concept of what it means to be a mature learner, how that might have changed in recent years, and what you can expect if you’re considering returning to education, particularly within a university setting.

By the end of the course, we will have explored:

  • The history of mature learners and who they are now

  • What is involved in making the decision to return to education

  • The range of support systems available to mature learners such as finance, child care, mature learning networks, academic skills development

  • What a mature learner may need to succeed in the learning environment

My name is Julie Knowles and I will be your guide through this course, so please follow me by clicking the link above… and then coming back! As you progress through the following steps you will hear from me, and a range of other contributors as we explore the various facets of mature learning based on practices and research.

We look forward to learning with you over the next couple of weeks, and hope that you enjoy the course.

Please note that active tutor facilitation is limited to the number of teaching weeks from when the course run started. Please do not therefore expect any further tutor engagement from 29 June 2020, though you are very welcome to continue to work through the course materials in a self-directed fashion from that point.

Get extra benefits, upgrade your course

You can now get extra benefits by upgrading this course, including:

  • Unlimited access to the course: Go at your own pace with unlimited access to the course for as long as it exists on FutureLearn.

  • A Certificate of Achievement: To help you demonstrate your learning we’ll send you a Certificate of Achievement when you become eligible.

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This video is from the free online course:

Returning to Education as a Mature Student

University of York

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: