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Member Name: XmasGimp
The European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL)
Date: 10/09/01, updated on 10/09/01 (2245 review reads)
Advantages: broad IT qualification, don't need to do a course, cheap!
Disadvantages: wide variety of courses to choose from
European Computer Driving Licence? What’s that?! And why does it have such a dodgy title?
The ECDL is the European-wide qualification, which enables people to demonstrate their competence in computer skills. It is designed specifically for those who wish to gain a basic qualification in IT.
The ECDL is broken down into seven modules, each of which must be passed before the ECDL certificate is awarded.
The seven modules that make up the ECDL are:
· Basic concepts of IT
· Using the computer and managing files
· Word processing
· Information and Communication
(you can find the full syllabus at www.ecdl.co.uk)
The ECDL is an internationally recognised qualification, and is fast become THE benchmark IT qualification in the UK.
One of the main advantages of the ECDL is that if you already have the knowledge of one or more of the modules you don’t have to do a course about them. You can just take the exam. Why waste time going over old ground? It’s boring. This way you can concentrate on the modules you are less experienced with.
There are hundreds of test centres and training providers around the country. You don’t have to take all of the modules with any one training provider either! You need a log book (available either from a training provider/test centre or directly from the British Computer Society (BCS) the board that regulates the ECDL in the UK). As you take your exams your log book is stamped. Once you have all seven modules ‘stamped’ you send your book to the BCS and they send you back your certificate.
There are a variety of training methods available also; from class-based lessons to online self paced materials. List of test centres can be found at www.ecdl.co.uk and lists of training providers can be found at www.learndirect.co.uk .
I have heard of some dodgy peo
ple selling ‘online’ ECDL door to door, BEWARE! Steer well clear, as they seem to just be rip of merchants.
I’m pretty qualified to talk about online ECDL, I have my ECDL and the college where I work offers training for the qualification online. (Actually I look after the online students).
I think I need to define what is meant by an online course....it is a course delivered over the internet, that you can access from an internet connection – I know a few companies are calling cd based training materials online, which isn’t really the case.
When sourcing an online training provider the thing to check is that the company offers tutor support (assuming you want to be able to get help if you need it), it’s also wise to see a sample of the training materials, some companies have online courses that are little more than word documents you can download.
So, having said all that, all I can talk about it how our courses work, I think other training providers offer similar....with our course you are issued a username and password which enables you to log into your own training area. From there you can access the modules of the ECDL that have been allocated to you. The course includes pre and post tests so you can see how well you are doing, and the actual course is interactive, talking you through step by step everything you need to know. You can jump through parts of the course if it’s a topic you already know, or spend longer on a topic you’re not so sure about. This way you can spend more time on the parts that are of interest; so hopefully, you’re less likely to get bored.
Once you’ve finished your study for a module you take your exam at your nearest test centre. If you’re local to us we offer the addition of free mock tests you can take here as many times as you like.
(I don’t want to sound too much like an advert for our training mate
rials, so I’ll point out again there are other companies that offer a similar product)
Cost - well this varies between test centres and trianing providers. None of the costs are set. Usually, the cost of the log book is £25. (If a provider is charging you more than £25 get one directally from BCS instead!) Exams vary between centres, I have seen them for as little as £7 and as much as £20 per module. There are two exam methods, paper based, and online. The online exam is still taken at a test centre, but you are able to get instant results. Course costs vary a great deal also, but with us, using an ILA (see below for more on ILAs) you can get training in all the modules for £46 (less if you don't need all the modules).
One way to help fund your course is to use an Individual Learning Account (ILA). This is a government incentive that will offer 80% discount for ECDL (and some other IT and maths courses, and 20% discount for other courses). Even if you don’t want to do ECDL, if you’re thinking of doing any training at all apply for an ILA by telephoning 0800 072 5678, almost everyone is eligible!
Anyway, email me if you want to know more about our courses, or to find a list of training centres look at www.ecdl.co.uk or www.learndirect.co.uk .
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