Distance learning (also known as online learning), is a very flexible method of studying. It provides students with the opportunity to gain new skills while still carrying on with normal life. So for example, if you wanted to retake your GCSEs or A-Levels, but needed to carry on working, then that is more than possible for you to do.
On the other hand, if a student is looking to do online learning full time instead of school or college, then this is entirely possible as well. Depending on the courses opted for, there is no reason why a student can’t be classed as being in full time education when studying entirely through distance learning.
With the advances in distance learning, the range of subjects and topics that students are able to comfortably study has grown vastly. Unlike before, the methods of study are no longer just an ebook or PDF that you’re expected to trawl through and try and make sense of. Now, there are interactive elements and self quizzes along with the help and support of tutors and advisors to ensure your learning experience is as smooth as possible.
How Many Hours of Study Count as Full Time?
In the UK, studying full time is classed as a student carrying out at least 20 hours of study time per week during term time. So provided you are studying an average of this through your online learning, then there is no reason why you couldn’t study full time via distance learning. To give you a better idea of study times, one A-Level subject is the equivalent to 350 hours of study time. A GCSE is equivalent to 120 hours and a professional Diploma 300 hours.
What Types of Courses can you Study with Distance Learning?
As mentioned a moment ago, the range of course types now available really does cover a full spectrum of qualifications, some of which many people think you still have to study at a school or college to get the qualifications for. For example, you can study all these types of qualifications currently:
- Functional Skills
- Health and Social Care Diplomas by CACHE
- Short Courses
- Professional Diplomas
An Example of Full Time Studying
If you were a student who wanted to study A Levels full time, then you would need at least 3 A Level subjects. One A Level course is approximately 350 hours of study time. So with three subjects studied over one year, you would be hitting the minimum requirement for hours per week of study to be classed as a full time student. If you were a student studying GCSEs, you would need at least 5 subjects to be able to reach the minimum weekly hours of study.
Interestingly, if you’re studying a higher level of course, for example a BTEC Level 4, then it would be just the one course needed for you to be classed as a full time student. So it’s worth keeping this in mind when choosing your subjects.