All about Flexible Learning: What they are, how they work, and who they’re for

Enrolling in a post-secondary education program may feel like a large, daunting commitment, but it doesn’t have to be. BCIT Flexible Learning (formerly Part-time Studies) offers you a great way to get the credential and skills needed for an in-demand career.

Start with a course, finish with a degree. With BCIT Flexible Learning, you can build on your education to suit your needs, one step at a time.

There’s no standard model for what these courses look like or who they’re meant for. Flexible Learning courses are as diverse as the individuals who pursue them. But here are some things you should be aware of as you decide whether they’re right for you.

What does it mean to study part-time with Flexible Learning?

Generally speaking, part-time courses offer more flexible deliveries (in-class, online, or hybrid)—with scheduled evening and/or weekend sessions—and extended program completion timelines for students working toward a credential. There are a lot of options, depending on where you are in your personal and professional life, and what your objectives are.

At BCIT, there are over a thousand part-time studies courses to choose from, spanning across these areas: Applied and Natural Sciences, Business and Media, Computing and IT, Engineering, Health Sciences, and Trades and Apprenticeships. With such a wide selection, you can take individual courses to gain the skills you need to achieve your goals, or work towards completing a full program and graduating with a credential.

If you choose to pursue a BCIT credential, taking a part-time course with Flexible Learning allows you to set your own pace. For some programs, you can take as long as seven years as you work towards completion, depending on your needs, objectives, and your schedule.

You can also ladder your credentials. If you start by pursuing a certificate or associate certificate at BCIT, but then decide you want to continue your education, those courses can count toward a diploma. In turn, your diploma could be a credit toward a bachelor’s degree, and then advanced studies or even a master’s degree.

All the skills and experience you gain at BCIT are fully applicable—whether they’re being applied on the job to further your career, or applied in the classroom to build your knowledge and resumé.

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How do Flexible Learning part-time courses work?

Like full-time students, students who choose Flexible Learning often take classes on campus on a part-time basis—but that’s not always the case. A large number of courses, and even entire programs, can be taken online. Generally, these can be grouped into three categories:

  • Synchronous courses simulate a classroom environment, with scheduled class times, start and end dates, and real-time interactions with instructors and peers.
  • Asynchronous courses are independent—you have an instructor, but you work whenever you want. Some have no fixed start date and can be taken anytime.
  • Blended courses offer a combination of in-person and online learning, so that you benefit from both hands-on training and the convenience of digital classrooms.

Regardless of whether they’re online or in person, synchronous or asynchronous, all BCIT courses have been designed to the same high standard, and are informed—and taught—by seasoned industry pros.

Who are Flexible Learning courses for?

Flexible Learning is a good fit for anyone who prizes freedom, flexibility, and going at their own pace. But in particular, they’re a great choice if you’re working full time or have other obligations you need to fulfill, such as caring for children or elders.

In some cases, individuals enrolled in Flexible Learning already have degrees from a college, university, or technical institute, but need to learn specific skills or earn qualifications to take their careers to the next level. In other cases, they received their professional training in a foreign country, and need to complement their previous schooling in order to align with Canadian requirements.

As a side note, Flexible Learning courses are available to International students as well—but if you’ve come from abroad to study at BCIT, it’s important to check the requirements associated with your specific study permit to see if part-time study is possible.

Thinking of studying part-time?

If you’re planning to take a Flexible Learning course, there are couple things to keep in mind:

  1. Like many other education programs, prerequisites or minimum proficiencies may be required for certain courses. A common example is the completion of English 12 to ensure you have the language skills needed to comprehend the material.
  2. It helps to declare your program of study as early as possible. This will ensure you get enrolled in the courses you need, and guarantee that your credits will be honoured even if courses have evolved to meet new industry standards. 
  3. Program Advisors are available by appointment to help you establish which courses you’ll need to meet your educational goals, and will create a Program Plan for you to follow for the duration of your studies.

SEE MORE: These Flexible Learning courses can help you pivot quickly

One of the major benefits to taking a Flexible Learning course is that you can decide to start a program in any term, and you can declare your program anytime. And as long as you’ve declared, you can apply for financial aid and awards if your program is eligible.

This flexibility and adaptability extends to all facets of Flexible Learning. You’re free to take as many or as few courses as you want. Another benefit is that class sizes are typically capped between 20 and 30 students, meaning you have plenty of opportunities to be trained, coached, and mentored by the industry professionals who serve as your instructors.

Now you know the advantages of studying with BCIT Flexible Learning. If it sounds like the right next step in your education or career path, start exploring

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