My Experience with Distance Learning Centres
Posted by Janet Gee on September 16th, 2022
What is a distance learning centre?
A distance learning centre can mean many things depending on where you are in the world. Most commonly, it refers to online learning, the ability to learn from a distance. There are many distance learning centres available worldwide. Some are specific in the content they provide others are more general. I wouldn’t be able to even hazard a guess at the number of centres available. Yet one thing is for sure, they are rising in popularity every day.
Why is there a rise in distance learning centres?
There is no denying that there has been a change in the way we operate as a society within the past few years. The change of pace in life seems to have accelerated somewhat rapidly, due to numerous factors.
Firstly, modern technology and its application to life is growing at an unprecedented pace. Its estimated that 99% of people living in the UK have access to a mobile device. Moreover, in 2002 44% of UK households owned a computer, 10 years later that figure has doubled to just over 88%. A rise in computers means a rise in people able to access distance learning centres.
Secondly, but perhaps more predominantly known is the global pandemic of 2020. Coronavirus had a phenomenal effect on the UK. I think it is fair to say that as a country, we were not prepared for the changes we would have to make to our day-to-day lives following the viral outbreak. Social distancing wiped out the opportunity for face-to-face learning for nearly a year. This meant, for education to continue, it had to be done online. This has evidently attributed to a change in attitude towards online learning.
Finally, there has been a change in outlook on further education as generations progress. I think it is fair to say that historically the importance of university has ebbed and flowed over the years. I know when I was leaving college, nearly all of my friends were going to university. 90% of them wanted to go for the experience, which is understandable but this outlook seems to have changed. When speaking to the younger generation, there seems to be less enthusiasm towards attending university. The increase is cost attributes to this, but it is not the only factor that has meant this change in mindset.
The reputation of distance learning centres
I distinctly remember having a negative mindset towards distance learning centres when I was in the education system. This was stemmed through the hearsay that the courses were less informative and perhaps for those who weren’t as clued in. However, as I have grown and undertaken online courses myself, I realise how wrong I was. Due to the factors above, plus many more, the reputation of distance learning courses has changed dramatically. Both students and employers alike are viewing such qualifications with more respect, and it’s understandable.
An evaluation of distance learning courses
To fairly evaluate my experience of online learning through distance learning courses is it only appropriate to discuss its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages of distance learning centres
Many of the courses available offer the same level of qualification as university degrees, for a fraction of the cost. This is due to reduced resource needed to deliver the course. Additionally, the learning schedules are much more flexible, and the commitment required is greatly decreased. For example, the average university degree can take over 3 years to complete. Online courses can be completed in a matter of months depending on your personal commitment. This isn’t due to lack of quality however. Online courses are often quicker to complete as they contain more specific content. Rather than learning multiple aspects of one industry, through online learning, you can pick the parts that suit you, and not worry about the rest.
Disadvantages of distance learning centres
One arguable case against online learning is the lack of social interaction. As the courses are often attended from our home environments, you will got get the same atmosphere as a classroom. This means you are less able to interact with your peers. For many, this meant online learning was a less desirable option. Furthermore, this isolation requires a lot of self-motivation. To be able to effectively learn in a solo environment you need to be ready to manage your own time. Time management is a skill that many people struggle with, especially with the number of distractions around the home.
My online learning experience
As I stated previously, I was sceptical about online learning when I first left college. Yet now, years later I have completely changed my opinion on it. I attended university, luckily before the fee increase, got my degree and felt great about it. Yet I no longer work in the industry I graduated for. As I grew my life plan changed, an increased understanding on the working world and its possibilities lead me to a different desired outcome. To enable me to reach my personal goal, I had to learn some new skills. This is when I decided to take a course through distance learning centres. Although historically, online learning had a stigma around its delivery method, I found that the course I took was delivered fantastically. Not only was it cheap and accessible but it was also social.
Where did I study?
I studied Digital Marketing and SEO online with the College of Contract Management. Not only was their course informative but it was also delivered via live online lectures. Once or twice a week I would attend a zoom call with my lecturer and fellow students and interaction was encouraged. We were asked questions and allowed to discuss ideas with one another. Not only that but the course was finished within a matter of months and I am now working within the marketing department of a very successful company. Finally, through the College of Contract Management I have met many likeminded people who all have similar goals. We still keep in touch with one another now to ask for advice or to share our successes. Although I am grateful for the time I spent at university, I wish I had given distance learning centres a chance earlier.
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About the AuthorJanet Gee
Joined: September 1st, 2022
Articles Posted: 12
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