Distance education has helped students from all walks of life achieve their personal and professional ambitions.
By allowing students the option of studying at home, it empowers those who can’t attend physical classes to gain qualifications.
Although this can help anyone working full-time or juggling a busy home life, it can also help the differently abled.
For anyone with physical disabilities, where getting to a class would be a challenge, distance education is very valuable.
Similarly, if you have severe or enduring mental health issues, leaving the house can be an insurmountable obstacle some days.
Distance education gives you the freedom to learn without having to worry about your challenges. You can focus on the learning, rather than whether you can cope sitting in class with a group of strangers.
Regardless, prospective distance education students are sometimes reluctant to investigate taking a course. It’s not always clear whether the courses are officially recognised. Or if the course and style of learning is right for them.
Are the Qualifications Recognised?
All online course that gains you a recognised qualification at its end has to be regulated in the exact same way as any other course.
So, an A Level from a distance education provider is worth the same as one gained from your local 6th form school or college.
Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) is a government agency that regulates all awarding organisations. That includes traditional, bricks and mortar institutes as well as distance education providers.
This ensures all students get the same treatment and their qualifications are scored, graded, and recognised in the same way.
This also prevents learning providers from offering students easier, cheaper courses, promising them an A Level qualification that’s essentially useless. All courses, no matter how they are taught are all held to the same high standards.
In addition to this regulation, distance learning courses are developed by subject experts so the material will be both engaging and relevant. Especially if for A Levels and Access to HE Diplomas as they will set you up for undergraduate study.
Therefore, when you pass your course, you are guaranteed a nationally recognised qualification. Whether that’s an Access to Higher Education Diploma (Midwifery) or an A-level in Physics.
Some courses award you a certificate of completion but won’t award you a formal qualification. Make sure you know what you’re getting before you enrol.
Although they don’t give you a qualification, you still gain knowledge that can help you in your career.
You are the one who chooses the learning objective, so the absence of a qualification isn’t a bad thing. Learning for the sake of learning or to help you do your job better, are perfectly acceptable reasons to study.
Are the Courses Any Good?
Online course providers offer a wide range of tailored courses specifically for those wanting to learn through distance education.
It is not simply a case of taking traditional course material and uploading it to a website. Thought and planning goes into distance education courses to make them as enriching and rewarding as possible.
The course material is also tailored for an older audience. Again, this isn’t rehashing a course meant for a 16-year-old. The entire course will speak to you, not down to you. The assignments will be challenging without requiring years of prior academic knowledge.
The benefit for online learning students is that there is a course available to meet almost every requirement.
The range of courses available through online learning providers means that the opportunities for advancement are huge.
Whether you want to go to university, learn something new or develop the skills to run a business, there will be a course for you.
You still get the benefit of tutor support, the qualification and expanding your knowledge but without many of the pressures.
You can organise your learning around your circumstances and tailor your studies in way that works best for you.
Is it worth the effort?
Distance education is just one approach to learning. While it may differ from the traditional setting, it is no less valuable.
That said, distance education doesn’t suit everyone. For some, it can feel intangible and disconnected from the learning process. This is purely because it is a different learning experience, not a lesser learning experience.
Traditional learning is teacher lead. They provide key information and then point you in the direction they want you to go.
Distance education provides you with all the material you need to complete the course. You are then free to structure your learning around your personal circumstances.
The big advantage is you’re not racing against the clock to get your studies done in time for the next lesson. You can set the pace that works for you.
But, this can be challenging if you allow your studies to drift. If you’re not the most organised person then finding the motivation to plan your studies – and do the work – may feel a little alien.
If you make a plan and stick to it, however, you can complete your studies without too much stress.
Ultimately, the question isn’t necessarily whether distance education is any good. Providing you enrol onto an accredited course, then your qualification is the same as any other of its type.
The real question is whether you can do the work and if you believe the outcome is worth the effort.
Most courses have a two-year completion deadline. Providing you organise your study time appropriately, you can achieve balance between work, homelife and learning.
It’s also important to remember that , you’re not alone. Once you have enrolled on to a course, you will be assigned a tutor who can support your studies. They can answer questions and they will mark and provide feedback on your work too.
There is also an administrative team that can help you with any issues you may have regarding finances.
learndirect offers a wide range of online learning courses including fully accredited Access to Higher Education Diplomas and A-levels to help you realise your ambitions.
Check out our Access to Higher Education Diplomas today or contact a member of our course executive team today to learn more and enrol.