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What is Distance Education

8th April 20

Distance education is – as its name suggests – the education of students who don’t attend a physical educational institute. In other words, distance education allows anyone to study the course of their choice at a time and pace that suits them.

Because all the course material is accessible online there are no minimum class sizes and no course cancellations due to lack of uptake. By removing the physical elements, and the associated costs, it allows providers to offer a wider range of courses.

To look at it another way: distance education is an emancipator of the people. It allows individuals to expand their horizons, further their careers, or start entirely new ones.

Depending on your level of study, it can allow you access to university. Or make you eligible for new job opportunities and progression in the job you have.

But this only scratches the surface as to what distance education really is.

Distance Education is Empowering

Education in this increasingly complicated and interwoven world, is more important than ever. For those who finished their education in the last century – or previous decade – the world has moved on considerably.

For anyone who didn’t achieve the qualifications at school they would have liked, distance education gives them a second chance.

Or for those who didn’t have the choice, they get to decide how they want their education to take shape. The range of courses opens doors to entirely new career opportunities.

It also provides those individuals who want to learn new skills, further their career, start a new career or simply learn that opportunity too.

Learndirect | What is Distance Education | Distance Education is Empowering

Whatever your motivation, distance education can meet your individual needs towards personal development.

Courses range from Access to Higher Education Diplomas through to GCSEs and A Levels. There are even courses for people who just want to learn something for the sake of it. These hobby orientated courses offer a host of options, such as crime writing. So, whatever your ambitions or motives for study, there’s something for almost anyone.

The other advantage of distance learning is everyone can learn at a pace that suits them. There’s no situation where you’re the oldest in the class. Or you feel like you’re the only one who doesn’t get it.

And for those that work full time there isn’t the mad dash to get to class on time. Yet still arriving 5 minutes late, hot flustered and having all eyes on you while you get yourself sorted.

Instead you get to study when you’re ready. When you’ve had time to get home, get sorted and sit in peace and quiet and concentrate.

With distance education you’re the top of the class.

You can study around your challenges

If you have physical disabilities or mental health issues that would make it difficult for you to attend classes, then distance education is perfect.

Getting to a classroom isn’t a concern because your classroom is wherever you choose to study.

If you’re struggling to leave the house because your anxiety is off the charts, that’s okay. You have nowhere to be so you can just focus on the work.

Make your tutor aware of any challenges you have at the start of your course. This way they can provide additional support or possibly offer tips to help you get the most out of your studies.

No matter your background or experience, distance education is open to everyone. The courses are broken down into manageable chunks so you can tackle the work in a manageable way.

Learndirect | What is Distance Education | Study Around Your Challenges

Although there are deadlines, you can work with your tutor to structure your study so you can cope with the workload.

This is important as falling behind can make it difficult to stay on track. While your tutor could agree to an extension this just means you have less time to complete your next module.

The added pressure will make it more likely you’ll fail the assignment or stop studying altogether, which won’t benefit you at all.

If you’re concerned about studying with mental health issues charities like Mind can offer advice.

Distance Education is flexible

Whatever your educational ambitions, distance education allows you to study around your already busy life. The main concerns being your work and home commitments.

You don’t have to choose between spending time with your family or attending class. Nor do you have the headaches associated with finding someone to look after the kids.

And you don’t have the headache of throwing together a late dinner when you get home.

Importantly, because you can study at a time that suits you, there’s no need to cut down your working hours. Which will help your pocket as well as your career.

Because you’re not having to worry about making ends meet you can study without worry. There are a couple of exceptions that do require placements but that will be clearly highlighted to you prior to starting the course.

Moreover, the course fees tend to be cheaper than a bricks and mortar institute. Because there are no bricks and mortar. Or electricity. Or expansive administrative staffs. Or any of the other things that drive up the cost of courses.

There are also flexible payment terms for those who would prefer to spread the cost of their learning out over time.

This makes learning for more accessible and avoids the need to take out a short-term loan to cover the cost of your course.


The sheer breadth of courses available and flexible payment terms means that distance learning is an approach to education that reflects the changing needs of the modern world.

By putting the learning process in the hands of the people taking the course, good things happen.

Firstly, you can balance your learning with your individual circumstances. You’re not limited by shift work, childcare or the distance from your place of study. Disabilities or other challenges can be overcome too with the right support.

Secondly you can manage your finances more effectively as payment terms can flex to meet most budgets. That allows you to study without having to worry about whether you can afford to complete the course.


learndirect offer a wide range of Access to Higher Education Diplomas in order to help you realise your ambitions.

Checkout out our Access to Higher Education Diplomas or contact a member of our sales team today to learn more and enrol.

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