When looking at continuing your educational journey and getting qualified, you will quickly realise there are a lot of options out there! One of which you will keep seeing is online courses (such as A Levels, GCSEs or Diplomas) with a distance learning college. Long before all the pandemic nightmare, distance learning and distance learning colleges existed and provided a great way for people to add to their qualifications remotely.
We’re going to look at the pros and cons of distance learning and why it’s a great option for some and not so much for other students. By the end of this, you should have a much clearer idea of what distance learning is and whether it will work for you and your needs.
Is Distance Learning the same as Online Learning?
In short, yes. Distance learning really is just another name for online learning these days. Originally, this form of learning started via correspondence back in the 1800s, but thankfully has now come on in leaps and bounds to become what we know today as online learning.
With that said though, it doesn’t mean that students who prefer a more traditional way of studying, i.e. paper format and posting assessments, are going to miss out and not be able to study in the more traditional way if they wish. They just need to ensure they find a course and distance learning college that allows for this.
Benefits of Distance Learning
So let’s start with the obvious, if you’re learning online and studying from home, then you’re not going to have to worry about travelling to a school or college to study. That’s definitely a benefit in most people’s minds.
When it comes to online learning, the range of courses and topics you can study is vast! There are way more subjects and topics you can study freely, from A-levels through to high level Diplomas, there is a course in a subject to suit everyone. And most courses don’t have entry requirements.
You’ll find there is a lot of flexibility when it comes to distance learning. Courses are self studied and so it’s up to you to decide as and when you want to study and more to the point, where you want to study. Fancy working from the kitchen table in the morning and your bedroom in the evening, then you’re free to do so! Fancy reading from your mobile while lounging in bed, rather than getting up and sitting at your desk? Then go ahead and study how you feel you will best get it done.
Another great benefit of online learning is it gives you the chance to expand your mind and gain a deeper understanding of a subject or topic, that you might not have investigated before. And everyone will agree that learning more is always a good thing!
Disadvantages of Distance Learning
So we have looked at the benefits, what about the disadvantages? Well first, if you’re the kind of person who needs to be nagged into getting things done, then online learning might not be the right fit for you. Unlike with school or college, you’re not going to have a teacher or tutor there checking in on if you have handed in your coursework on time. You’re also not going to have them there reminding you of when your deadlines or examinations are!
Another disadvantage of distance learning can be the type of course you sign up to study. It’s all well and good doing a Level 3 Diploma in Crystal Healing, but holding a certificate in that, won’t mean anything more than you having more knowledge about the topic. It’s important to always do your research about courses before signing up. Always check and make sure the course you are signing up to study is going to provide you with what you want. Check to see if the Awarding Body for the course is known and recognised, you don’t want to try to apply for university just to find the qualification doesn’t count.
Last and not least, cost. With any online course that holds weight (in terms of a qualification), you’re going to have to pay course fees. These can get quite high when you get to the higher level Diplomas, but then the reward of completing the course and gaining the qualification should balance that out.
Having reviewed the main benefits and disadvantages of distance learning, you should now have a good idea of exactly what it is and whether it’s for you. The important thing to do before starting on your distance learning journey has to be research. Find out everything you need to know about the course. Don’t be afraid of asking questions about the qualification, the awarding body or whether it’s the right course for you. If the distance learning college you are asking can’t answer your questions fully, then it might be a case of you needing to find a different college that can.