Starting a Distance Learning Course
Distance learning and correspondence courses aren’t exactly new. For example, the Open University (OU) is one of the most well-known examples of organisations which have given many thousands of students the opportunity to study for further qualifications where the vast majority of the coursework is done remotely and the OU has been around for almost 40 years. However, since the internet has revolutionised our lives in so many ways, and especially in the educational sector, there are now plenty more opportunities to study in this way - i.e. outside of the conventional classroom or lecture hall environment.
How To Get StartedAgain, the internet is going to be an invaluable tool in your preliminary research in terms of finding out which organisations will cater for the type of course you want to do remotely. The OU, learndirect, BBC Online Learning, Computeach and the National Extension College are just some of the more well-known providers who allow you to undertake a course using distance learning and correspondence methods. The Direct.gov website is a useful place to find out more.
How Does Distance Learning Work In Practice?People who undertake distance learning or e-learning courses are able to take advantage of many different methods in order to learn, to submit coursework and to keep in touch with both tutors and fellow students alike and all this can be achieved from the comfort of your own home. Tutors can keep in touch with you by post, phone, e-mail or even online through the latest in videoconference technologies by which you can actually ‘attend’ virtual lecturers through the use of webcams etc. The main media which are used to facilitate distance learning include:
What Are The Advantages Of Distance Learning?One of the main advantages of distance learning is the flexibility it gives you allowing you to combine further study with any other work-based and/or family commitments you might have which would otherwise prevent you from being able to enrol upon a course. It also benefits those who live in more remote areas where it’s far more difficult to find an easily reachable conventional training provider. For those who are disabled or have other types of mobility or health issues, distance learning has completely transformed the scope of opportunities which had previously made going back to adult learning difficult. It also helps those who may work irregular shift patterns or a different amount of set hours each week. Another popular advantage, especially for adult learners who may be a little nervous about returning to a ‘classroom’ environment and the thought of ‘competing’ with younger minds, is that it can be done from home, or from anywhere else for that matter, and at a pace to suit you as an individual.
It doesn’t matter whether or not you want to undertake a distance learning course to further your career or you’re simply considering a course for pleasure, there is bound to be some kind of course relevant to your needs. Furthermore, you’ll often find that you don’t even need formally recognised qualifications to be accepted onto a course. The OU is a prime example of this where neither your age nor previous qualifications are a primary consideration - only a willingness and a commitment to learn.