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There are loads of pros that come with embarking on a distance learning course, so don’t be swayed by those who might think it doesn’t give you the real deal in terms of qualifications or is somehow an easier option.
Here are 7 bona fide reasons why studying a distance learning course could be just what you’re looking for in your next (or even first) step in education.
Distance learning courses require just as much input and hard work as your regular, get-up-and-go-to-lectures university degree would, but the clincher is you can sit down and learn the same content whenever you like, as long as you still meet the deadlines of course.
So whether you’re a night owl, an early bird or an afternoon sparrow you can plough through those 100 pages of sleep-inducing textbook material at whichever point you feel your brain is most awake.
Creating your own work schedule can give you a real sense of motivation and enjoyment. And when you have your own agenda, you’re more likely to stick to it for longer than if you feel restricted by a predetermined timetable.
Distance learners might only meet with their tutors a couple of times a semester, and so you can study from wherever they are in the world, at home, in work or even a local cafe, so travel and accommodation costs directly associated with the course are pretty much zilch compared to the expense of university accommodation and travel.
Generally speaking, distance learning courses have cheaper fees too, as there aren’t as many costs incurred on the provider’s end. Though you may rack up quite a bill on late-night coffees to get you through the assessment periods, you won’t be shelling out half as much cash as most of your fellow postgraduates will be.
Distance learning courses can easily be fitted around other major commitments in life so you never have to choose between them (except perhaps when turning down a pint to finish that essay on a Friday night).
Though you will probably have to squeeze some time from somewhere in the calendar to set up a study schedule, your family, your job(s) and your hobbies won’t be completely side-lined because you’ll be able to fit your studies in alongside everything else.
Whether we like it or not, we are being dragged with gathering speed into an age where IT skills are a must for the vast majority of working people.
If your distance learning course material is online, you’ll stand in good stead to impress employers with your computer knowledge. Online learning platforms, educational software, video calls with your tutors – they all count towards knowing your way around the scary world of technology. And if you’re a tech-whizz already, then studying via a medium you’re very comfortable with should make things even easier and more rewarding.
If you’ve grown out of student socialising, or you simply don’t have the time, then distance learning puts you away from the expectation of participation.
This leaves you more time to get more studying done, enjoy the company of your already-established friends and cook yourself proper meals rather than living off beans and sausages out of a tin.
It might seem lonely or anti-social to some, but with virtual forums and online contact with tutors there’s no reason to feel isolated on your course.
Although it might seem strange to suggest you’ll have more time compared to a regular student having just taken on a university course on top of your existing commitments, but hear me out...
Studying from home can free up the time you may have otherwise spent travelling to lectures/socialising /starting a chess appreciation society/trying new sports. It can now be spent as you want spend it, with the option to immerse yourself even further in your course by doing wider reading and research in all those extra spare moments.
You’ll be brushing up on useful everyday skills like time management, organisation and self-motivation, but also gaining new and highly transferable skills in researching and writing.
Plus there will be an array of new options that open up to you once you’ve received your qualification, so aim high and work to the best of your ability to achieve something very worthwhile and take yourself in the direction you want to go.
Don’t just take my word for it, here’s what distance learning students and tutors say about it, in case you weren’t quite convinced of its merits yet:
Adam Wong, a distance learning student from Hong Kong completed his MBA from the University of London in 2015:
"Thanks to the strong link and support from London and the local coordination with HKU SPACE in delivering the course, I managed to complete it proudly, with a distinction in 2 years’ time. I also changed my job during the period. I now work as a senior manager with the Prudential Assurance Company Limited in Hong Kong. The lesson to me is when you know exactly what you want, and you are determined, everything becomes achievable."
Ruth Nash, an Open University (OU) graduate, says the community at the OU helped her get back into education:
"The support that I got from the lecturers, the support that I got from the forums, was phenomenal. It’s second to none."
Hugh, a fiction and creative writing tutor with the Open University, praises the courses’ flexibility:
"These courses are what the OU calls 'asynchronous' which means you do it in your own time; you don't all have to be online at the same time. You can go on early in the morning, at the end of the day after work: it is entirely up to you.
"The technology isn't difficult if you have any IT experience at all. For the courses I tutor I use a bog-standard computer - you do not need state-of-the-art equipment."
Anisul Hassan was enrolled on the International Programme at the University of London as a distance learner:
"I really liked the fact that I did not have to attend any hectic university lectures and also follow any strict timelines for submitting assignments. The course was very flexible and hence I could fulfil other day-to-day commitments while studying my degree."
So now I’ve given you so many excellent and persuasive reasons to start a distance learning course, why are you still reading this?! Get on with that application form and fire up the laptop (or bring in the post) ready to take a massive, exciting step in your education and your life, all from the comfort of your own home.
NEXT STEP: Apply for a Distance Learning Course
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