You may be wondering what all the fuss is about, what is so great about distance learning? There are many and varied reasons to choose to go down this route. It isn’t for everyone, that’s for sure. Some people need to be in a group to learn, however, some of us – me included, like the freedom distance learning gives you.
Costs and affordability
For one thing, the costs are much less. And I am not just talking about course fees. Take into account travel time to and from college/university, travel cost, parking fees and the costs soon mount up. What about those who are off to University to get the “experience”? Firstly you have to deal with the exorbitant course fees then you need to negotiate a student loan to get by on, which you will be paying off until you are a senior manager! What happens if you don’t like the course once you have paid for the whole year up front? Can you change? Do you get a refund? With distance learning you reduce those costs and suddenly a qualification is much more affordable.
Individual Personalised Learning
With bricks and mortar establishments, they need a minimum number of students to run a course, lets say 10. From that they can afford the teaching staff and contribute to the overheads of said establishment. This means that they offer a course with very little in the way of choice of units. It will be pretty fixed. It has to be, they can’t have one student studying subject A, and the other 9 wanting to study subject B. Most courses have mandatory units, so there is no way around those whichever direction you choose. With distance learning, you get a choice. You choose exactly which modules to study and when, sometimes you can even choose the order.
A bricks and mortar establishment is run on timetables, unit A starts at this time, in parallel with unit B, which has an assignment at precisely this date and so on. You also need to attend every Tuesday night or whatever. I wanted to create a system where it is entirely flexible, not just the units, but the time taken to complete them. The Open University for instance, very flexible, but hand in dates, exams and term times are fixed. With some distance learning, you can choose to study as little or as much as you want. A full time degree course at university is around 120 credits worth. Working full time and studying part time, you should be looking at 60 credits per year. You can do more, but that is up to individual circumstances. I once did 90 credits a year whilst holding down a busy full time job, no kids at the time and that was quite tough. Some distance learning is completely flexible, others not so. Some offer the ability to do one unit at a time, one part at a time, or many units in parallel. So it could take longer to get your qualification doing distance learning. However you could actually be finished quicker because there are no defined start or end dates. Worth thinking about.
Sense of achievement
They say that something worth doing is never easy, which is very true of distance learning. So when you do complete it, the sense of achievement is so much greater. You have had to overcome numerous barriers, such as work, family, working on your own, no-one to hand at 3am to ask a question. In the end it will be worth it. You have decided to make that choice to improve your skills and/or knowledge and followed it through.
I don’t mean the sit at the front of the class and no talking, but there is that element, more on that later. I mean self-discipline, you will need some. One of the benefits of studying from home is the peace and quiet you can get, but not always. There are also the distractions, such as making yourself a brew whenever you feel like it, raiding the fridge, putting on the tv amongst other things. So you have to discipline yourself. Plan your time and stick to it. Set yourself a goal of so many hours per week, then fit those hours in around your life. Some things might need to change, like less time down the pub or gym, or not, that is the beauty of distance learning. But you do need to be disciplined or it will never get done.
In a class full of people, there will be those that like to answer all the questions the teacher asks, there will be those that don’t want to speak out loud, but have to so the teacher can check knowledge and understanding. Then there are those that want to listen to music while they work, but that is not allowed in most colleges, it is deemed rude to be in a class listening to a lecture and music at the same time. Also it can be off putting if you like silence whilst trying to work out what your neighbour is listening to. So whilst there are distractions at a bricks and mortar establishment, there are different ones at home. You may want to have music on in the background, they say everything is improved by adding music, why not study? So you can choose the distractions.
So to sum up, there are many factors to be taken into account, not just the direct course costs. I hope this has opened your eyes to the delights of distance learning. For more information, or just a chat, call 01792 732001 or fill in a contact form.