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6 Benefits of Enrichment Classes for All Ages
Education doesn’t stop when the school bell rings or when graduation is over. In fact, everyone is constantly learning, whether that’s through a formal class or informal exploration. People who take a lifelong learning approach to life may seek out enrichment classes for personal growth, to build new skills, or connect with others in their community.
What are enrichment classes? Typically non-credit, they can cater to any age or interest of learners in your local community.
What are enrichment classes? Afterschool programs, adult ed classes, workshops at your local makerspace, lectures at a senior center, and educational offerings at a theater or museum can all be considered enrichment programs. Enrichment classes are non-credit and typically outside of core subjects like math and reading. They can cater to any age or interest; the common theme is that the majority of learners come from the local community.
Below, we explore 6 benefits of enrichment classes that community education programs can use in their marketing campaigns, to encourage donations, or to inspire your team by reminding them that they’re doing important work.
Benefits of Enrichment Programs for Your Community
Are you wondering why is enrichment important for students? Enrichment classes fill needs that for-credit courses and other educational programming just can’t. Enrichment classes also strengthen your community and your organization’s place within it. Here are 6 ways enrichment classes benefit learners and communities.
1. Connect people who might not meet otherwise
Enrichment classes have an amazing way of bringing people together. They might be students with different majors who would never cross paths otherwise, or they could be members of your wider community who work in different areas. Bringing these people together enriches everyone. It leads to lateral thinking, unconventional partnerships, and a sense of community connection.
An innovative program at the University of Texas at Austin called Lifelong Learning With Friends gives adult learners with intellectual and developmental disabilities access to the university experience through stimulating and fun post-secondary education opportunities. “Reverse inclusion” means that neurotypical UT college students learn alongside their neurodiverse peers.
2. Claim your place within a wider community
Enrichment classes also help your program build relationships with the wider community. When people in the community depend on your program as a source of education, they have tangible examples of the value you offer to the community. This makes them more likely to support, donate, and lobby on your behalf.
Many community colleges have begun offering non-degree credentials that address the needs of local employers and industries. Forming partnerships with local businesses is a win everyone: the educational institution, learners, and the community.
3. Improve soft skills and confidence
Many learners are focused on how education can help them find a new job or earn a raise in their current one. But technical classes aren’t the only way to do that. Enrichment courses help learners improve soft skills. From creativity to communication, problem-solving to public speaking, enrichment classes present fun challenges that help learners improve their skills.
Lifelong learning has been shown to boost confidence and build soft skills like creativity and communication.
Learners don’t leave these skills in the classroom. They bring them out into the community. Plus, lifelong learning has been shown to boost confidence and self-esteem. It also gives people hope and purpose, which can help them face the stressors of life.
4. Prevent the dreaded “brain drain”
Enrichment classes can keep kids from backsliding during summer breaks. Research has shown that kids can lose an average of 20-27% of their school-year gains during summer vacation. Keeping them engaged and learning can help prevent some of these losses.
The same principle can help seniors in retirement. Research has shown that seniors can improve their cognitive health by learning something new. It’s more effective than just socializing. So your enrichment program can benefit both the oldest and youngest members of your community.
5. Give every learner the chance to shine
Traditional academic subjects may not be everyone’s idea of a good time. Students who struggle with math or reading may excel in classes focused on arts or performance. Those who hate sitting through a whole class period may blossom in a dance or gymnastics class. Offering a variety of types of classes invites more people into your learning community. Encouraging a more diverse community benefits everyone.
To get a better understanding of the different kinds of learning and where your program fits in, check out our free resource, A Complete Guide to Types of Learning and Why We Need Them All.
6. Bring in new students and keep existing students engaged
If your organization offers for-credit courses or diplomas, enrichment classes can serve as a lead magnet for these higher-investment programs. They give students a fun and accessible way to experience your program. Even offering a free course can pay off in the long run.
Offering enrichment classes can keep students engaged and attract new learners between sessions or semesters of for-credit courses.
Engagement leads to enrollment. If your organization offers semester-based learning or seasonal programs, you probably experience some enrollment melt between sessions. Offering enrichment classes can keep students engaged during the off-season so they’re more likely to re-enroll during the regular term.
Use These Benefits of Enrichment Classes in Marketing
Knowing the benefits of enrichment classes is one thing. Spreading the word about them is another. Help learners and community members see the value of your program by talking about these benefits. Not only could it help you sell more classes, it can also show your commitment to the community.
Of course, none of the benefits of enrichment classes can be realized until students enroll. Make registering for your enrichment classes easy with our impossibly simple registration software. We offer everything you need to register students, manage class rosters, and keep students engaged with your program. Start your free trial or contact us today.
Brian is a scientist-turned-education technology executive. He has founded and led technology companies for more than 20 years and uses his analytical mind and experimental approach to spur growth in small and medium businesses and start-ups. He is passionate about using technology to enhance access to lifelong learning.