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Preparing for Your Distance Learning Course

3rd July 20

Thousandof students opt for online courses every year as a flexible alternative to traditional study. For anyone with a busy life, it allows you to learn around your other commitments and move through modules at your own pace.

Not only is there more leeway when it comes to how you structure your studies but there are also more course options. Online learning providers aren’t restricted by what they can offer because they need to fill a classroom to make it worthwhile.

This means that you can find an online course for almost anything. So, whatever your interests and goals are, there is probably something out there for you.

For most of us, education was a teacher led experience, whereas with distance learning, you’re responsible for your progress.

So, it’s understandable that we might not be as sure on how to prepare for a more independent learning style.

But these concerns can be easily put to rest with a few helpful tips to get you started. Read on to find out how to best prepare for your distance education journey.

Getting Started

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Preparation begins before you start the course. The more organised you are beforehand, the easier your learning experience will be. You’ll know exactly what you’re aiming for and how much time you have.

Therefore, you shouldn’t have any nasty surprises along the way, like failing to complete the course by a set date. Or the course doesn’t give you the qualification you need to carry on with your studies.

There is nothing wrong with learning for learning’s sake. You might not need an accredited qualification as the knowledge alone is worth it. However, if that’s not the case then you need to do your research and make sure the course meets the criteria.

There are a few things you should consider before enrolling on any course to make sure it’s right for you.

Previous Qualifications

If you’re considering furthering your education at university, it’s important you have all the relevant qualifications. Each university can set its own requirements therefore, it’s best to check with your desired institute before applying.  

You wouldn’t want to spend two years taking an Access to HE Diploma. And then discover you now need 5 GCSEs you hadn’t planned on studying.

Access to HE Diplomas are valid for 5 years after completion to ensure the information is relevant. So, if you need to do other courses to support your application, you’re better off completing them before your Access to HE Diploma.

This way you can study all the courses you need at your own pace rather than racing the clock.

Preparing for Your Studies

If you’ve chosen a course, then there’s still a few more steps to guarantee you give yourself the best possible start.


Make sure you have everything you need before you start. Just because you’re not going back to school doesn’t mean you can’t prepare like so.

Get yourself stationery, a notebook and a folder. This will not only get you excited to start your learning journey but also help you organise your work.


Distance education allows you to study from the comfort of your own home. It definitely has its benefits: no commuting to class, no uncomfortable classroom chairs and no irritating classmates.

But there is such a thing as too comfortable and you might find it hard to stay focused if you’re not careful. To set up an ideal workspace at home you’ll need to do the following:

  • If you can help it, don’t work from your bed, our minds associate bed with sleep so you will find it harder to concentrate. You’ll also find it harder to relax at night too as your mind will start to shift that association to study.
  • Give yourself a big enough surface to work on so you can lay out everything you need clearly
  • Make sure the space is free of clutter, so you’re not forced to tidy when you’re meant to be studying
  • Keep distractions, like mobile phones or the tv, away so that you’re not tempted by them
  • Have somewhere you can store your work that is organised and easily accessible for your next study session.

By doing this you’ll find it much easier to remain focused during your study sessions. Which in turn means you’ll get much more out of your course.

During Your Studies

learndirect - Preparing for Your Distance Learning Course - During Your Studies

During your studies it’s important to utilise your time wisely.

The most successful online students often plan their study sessions in advance. Laying out their timetable and factoring in holidays, events, family, work and other commitments that can’t be missed.

This will give you a clear overview of how long the course will take. As well as get you prepared mentally to focus when a study session is coming up.

It’s also a good idea to break up your study sessions into smaller more manageable chunks. This way it will be less intimidating and won’t put you off.

Don’t try and cram an 8-hour study session all on the Sunday before a full work week. You won’t retain the knowledge nearly as well as if you spread it out over time.

Another time management skill that will help your learning is to give yourself regular breaks. Breaks throughout your studies will keep you fresh and allow you to maintain concentration when studying.

When taking a break, try not to go on your phone as you’ll snap your mind out of learning mode and it’ll take you – on average – 20 minutes to get back into the swing. A walk around the block or stretching your legs in the garden will be much better for you and give you headspace to mull over what you’ve learned.

Preparing for your online studies will help you succeed. And you’ll find once you’re organised, you’ll be able to enjoy the learning experience much more. No matter what you choose to study.


Whatever reason you have to study, whether it’s a new business venture or to develop your skillset further. learndirect could have the course you’re looking for.

learndirect is one of the UK’s leading online learning providers offering a range of courses from GCSEs to Access to HE Diplomas. With a personal tutor to guide you through your studies and flexible payment options to help you spread the cost.

Learn more about what we have to offer by contacting a member of our sales team today or having a browse of our courses below.

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