In my opinion, distance learning courses offer people a workable alternative to studying for a course without attending conventional classroom based lessons. As a Careers Advisor, I meet many people from various walks of life who have a lot of external responsibilities and which often means that they are not in a position to come to college to learn. Distance learning courses offer a realistic and practical alternative to studying a subject which not only interests them, but if accredited, awards them with a qualification as well.
I have completed many distance learning courses ranging from NVQs to IT qualifications, and more recently, I completed a Customer Service Awareness distance learning course through Leicester College which I found useful to recap on the key principles of customer service.
Currently, I am studying a distance learning Mental Health Awareness course through the college which is not only invaluable for my job role, but it is also extremely interesting; I have really enjoyed researching and learning about the different mental health conditions. The main benefit of the course for me is, that like most busy people, I can study for a qualification in my own time – perfect if you need to juggle home, family and life in general!
In my experience, I have found the following to be some of the benefits of distance learning:
- You get to study in your own time and at your own pace which offers a high degree of flexibility
- You choose a subject which interests you
- You select the location of where you want to study
- You can study the learning material as many times as you wish and keep the learning resources for future reference
- You can spend more time on a particular unit if needed
- Reduces travel time and therefore travel costs
- Builds independent study skills like research and organisation
- They can enhance your employment prospects by filling a skills gap and offer an accredited certificate to show to employers
- They can support you in establishing a different career direction
- Exercises the brain and can challenge your own views and opinions
- Improves your IT and writing skills
- You can get your friends and family involved by asking them questions and inviting them to participate in case studies (you will get the most willing volunteers for holistic therapy courses!)
- Encourages focus and discipline
- Gives you a sense of achievement which can build your self-esteem and confidence
Of course, it is useful to remember these pointers if you are considering starting a distance learning course:
- Have a plan to keep track of any deadlines for assignments. Distance learning is great, but time can run away very quickly!
- Submit your assignments on time as it will cause less stress and worry for you later on
- Be organised and keep your learning materials safe and secure in one place
- Back up your assignments, especially when stored on a computer!
- Avoid procrastination as if it were a disease. We also practice avoidance tactics at some point, but nothing will get accomplished by staring at learning materials! Make some notes or do some online research if you’re not in the mood, and then get back on track
- Do not copy work from published resources. Have confidence in your own ability
- Make sure you add the qualification to your CV!
I hope this article provides some useful information on the benefits of distance learning and offers some helpful advice about studying for these courses. If you have the dedication, time and commitment, and want the flexibility to study a subject which interests you, distance learning is invaluable!
By Sonia Riyait