Distance education is an empowering alternative to traditional teaching methods. At this time, it is the most flexible way a person can learn. A good choice for those wanting to call the shots on how they reach their educational goals.
Distance education gives you the chance to study a huge number of courses that cater to almost every niche. Whether they be for academic progression, career acceleration or personal pleasure.
No matter your reason for returning to education, committing to any kind of study programme is a big ask. Our lives are busy and often don’t stick to a rigid schedule. Things can crop up that make other flexible options like evening classes hard to fit in.
With distance education, you study on your terms. So, when something does crop up, you simply re-jig your study schedule to work around it. You decide when is most appropriate to learn so that your education fits around your life.
Aside from the flexibility, there are many other reasons people see distance education as a good alternative to the classroom.
It Makes Education Accessible for All
Many people looking to return to education have different reasons why classroom learning may not be viable.
You may have additional responsibilities like a part or full-time job, where swapping your shifts isn’t an option. Or you have family members or children to look after. Normally something would have to give for you to fit in the school run. But it isn’t a worry when you learn online. Just log on when it suits, while the kids are at school or while they nap, it’s up to you.
Learning outside of the classroom is also a huge benefit to students with differing abilities. Where physical disabilities could make travelling to and navigating a campus more difficult, students can log on comfortably from home. Avoiding crowds and a potentially stressful situation.
The same goes for anyone enduring mental health issues. With distance education, students are free to learn in peace when they feel up to it.
Finally, many returning students don’t have access to reliable transportation. If they don’t live near public transport or have a car, their on-campus education could stop at the first hurdle. Online learning opens options that otherwise would be unavailable.
It removes the many challenges that can come with classroom learning. Instead, it gives you the freedom to focus on your studies and your goal. Plus, it’s a more efficient use of your time.
Courses Are Dynamic and Varied
Online course providers tailor their courses specifically for learning online. It’s not just a case of uploading traditional course materials to the online platform. Each one has been reviewed and adapted to make the learning experience enriching and rewarding for the student.
Often courses combine a mixture of written, audio and video. All these interactive elements break up the materials and keep them engaging.
What’s more, the materials are available for the duration of your course. So, if you need to revisit a module, just go back to it at a later date.
The range of courses offered by online course providers is also far more extensive to what you’d see on-campus. This is because it takes far fewer resources and expenses to run courses online.
Administration costs, heating and lighting a building, plus teacher’s salaries are just a few of the expenses to consider. If too few students enrol, a course simply won’t be profitable to run.
Distance education doesn’t have these overheads to meet. Therefore, distance learning providers have much more freedom to provide less mainstream courses. This means online learning students benefit from a huge catalogue of courses to meet almost every requirement.
If your aim is to get into university, develop business skills or explore a hobby, there’s a course for you.
What’s more, you still benefit from tutor assistance. Each student is assigned a dedicated tutor who is qualified in their field to provide feedback and answer any questions.
The Qualifications Are the Same
Any course providing a recognised qualification is regulated by the same awarding body. GCSEs, A Levels and Access to Higher Education Diplomas, for instance, give you the same qualification studied on or off-line.
Ofqual (the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) is a government agency that regulates every awarding organisation. Whether that be traditional education facilities or distance education providers.
This guarantees your qualification will be scored, graded, and recognised in the same way.
It also stops ‘diploma mills’ from churning out easier, cheaper courses that promise students a qualification that is ultimately useless. No matter which way you are taught, each regulated qualification is held to the same high standards.
As well as these stringent regulation processes, distance education courses are developed in collaboration with subject experts. This ensures they appropriately equip you for university or employment by covering essential subject areas.
There are many courses offered by distance learning providers, however, that aren’t regulated or provide recognised qualifications. These courses are still of great value to the learner, as they help them acquire particular skills and knowledge.
The benefit for the student here is gaining that knowledge or skill to better perform at work or personally. A great example of this would be to learn new skills in Photoshop to improve your design capabilities. Getting a certificate of completion instead of a qualification in this instance, is absolutely fine. You have gained what you need to advance, and you can still evidence your learning.
The absence of a qualification isn’t a bad thing so long as it delivers your learning objective. Make sure you know what you want from a course and if your preferred one provides it before you enrol.
Distance education is a great alternative for many people looking to return to education. It provides the same outcome to traditional teaching methods and, for many, without the added pressure of the classroom.
For more tips on how to get the most out of distance education, visit our blog.
If you’re ready to take the next step and explore the online courses available, consider studying with learndirect. As a leading UK distance learning provider, they have many online courses to help you achieve your goals.