If you are of a certain generation the term ‘correspondence course’ might be more familiar to you than ‘distance learning’. Early morning educational television programmes and sending essays by post are a thing of the past as the internet has enabled these courses to flourish.

The Open University is well-known for its excellent stand-alone and university courses, with a range of media to aid learning including CDs, computer software, DVDs, and on-line resources such as study guides, as well as traditional books.

What many people may not realise is that distance learning rarely means you never meet other people. There may also be optional tutorials, Day Schools, study weekends or intensive residential schools for certain subjects. This merging of on and off-line support is called ‘blended learning’. Tutors can be contacted by telephone and email at almost any hour of the day, allowing for more support and interaction than most traditional university courses. In addition, on-line courses provide another mechanism for students to interact with each other.

Other institutions are now starting to provide distance learning programmes, offering students of all ages the flexibility to study from home. This means that non-traditional students, perhaps those with a disability, mothers, carers or people who need to have a job to finance their studies can pace their learning to match their circumstances. Since undergraduate university tuition fees have reached record highs, it makes sense for people to look at new modes of study to allow them to work. After all, some traditional universities even seek to restrict the number of hours their students can undertake paid work in an effort to make them focus on their studies. Distance learning MBAs have been around for about ten years and there are many other postgraduate degrees that can be studied in this way.

Distance learning requires students to be motivated and organised. Many of the degrees are recognised by professional bodies such as the British Psychological Society. However, it is not only degrees you can study. You may wish to do a distance learning course in interior design or perhaps study for a GCSE or A-level. Schools may not offer the subjects you wish to study due to staffing limitations or lack of demand, and studying on-line may offer you greater choice and a way of show-casing your initiative and organisational skills, which universities and employers prize highly. Information about available courses can be found on www.findanonlinecourse.com along with tips for choosing a course to suit you. For one-to-one advice go to the sister website, www.myuniapplication.com.

Natalie Lancer is the founder of MyUniApplication.com and www.findanonlinecourse.com.  She can guide you with all aspects of your application and give you expert guidance on finding the right course for you.

For more information, contact Natalie Lancer on 07747 612 513 or at natalie@natalielancer.com. www.myuniapplication.com

FindAnOnlineCourse.com’s top tips for Distance Learning:

  • Make sure you have a clear idea of how much study time the course. requires and assess whether you have the time to make this commitment.
  • Make sure you have a dedicated quiet space to work in.
  • Research difference courses and check the entry requirements, fees and other costs such as materials.
  • Be clear what completion of the course will do for your career. Contact relevant professional bodies to check the course is accredited by them if relevant.
  • Talk to a professional adviser such as Natalie Lancer, about which course is right for you.