The benefits of using home learning courses to further your education are numerous.
• You can study when and where you want
• Home study courses are on a one-one basis
• You can start when you want
• The pace is set by you and you alone
• You can enrol when it’s convenient for you
• The costs of distance learning courses are significantly less than college based ones
• Payment plans are usually available
But what course are you going to choose? What factors should you consider?
Try and define exactly what you want to study and why
• Is it connected with a career change?
• Perhaps it’s to help with your current job
• Or it maybe simply a subject you have always been interested in
Now look for courses that match your requirements
Read the syllabus carefully
• Do they cover the material you want or need
• Have you already covered most of the offered content
• What are the outcomes, do they match your needs
Check the time the course will take (usually quoted in hours)
• Do you think you can commit enough time to finish the course in a reasonable time, before your interest wanes or another deadline (career etc) is missed?
• Work out a realistic weekly commitment in hours and divide it into the total time to get an estimate of when you will finish. Allowing for holidays and some unplanned interruptions.
• Talk through the plan with your partner and other family members, get their commitment and support.
Check the qualification you will receive upon completion.
• Is it relevant to your purpose?
• Will employers (current and potential) accept it?
• Is the level of the qualification what you need?
• If you need insurance will your qualification be enough to obtain it?
What about the cost?
• Is it within your budget?
• Is there a staged payment plan that you can afford?
• Does the cost include everything or are there other costs to be revealed?
Quality and presentation of content is important
• Can you download or receive a sample of the course?
• Check testimonials with reference to content.
What about Tutor support?
• Are there tutors available to help you?
• Check the method of contact, does that suit you?
• Will you have the same tutor throughout your course?
How is your course work assessed?
• Is it on a continuing basis so you know how you are doing?
• How quickly will you get feedback and in what format?
• Can you retake assessments?
• Are there any external examinations? If so what is the pass rate from your course?
• What about the practical side of your course, how is this taught and assessed?
Does your course require any additional “tools”?
• Do you need access to the internet?
• What about DVDs, CDs MP3s?
• Are there any “tools of the trade” needed?
Once you know what you want, have selected a course and supplier – ENROL! Don’t put it off the sooner you start the sooner will enjoy and learn and benefit from your home learning course.