Newest Review: ... most of them were pretty decent. Unfortunately for me the experience with the Distance Learning College and Training has been a real night... more
Distance Learning - So many choices, who to choose?
Member Name: missmaile
Date: 03/06/08, updated on 11/03/10 (2475 review reads)
Advantages: Flexibility - Distance Learning can fit in well with your other commitments.
Disadvantages: Noy all course have enough tutor support and not all have a recognised body accrditing them.
I have experience of distance learning with The Open University (OU ) , Darnley Career Accadamy ( DCA ), Loughborough College and The Writers Bureau ( WB ) .
THE OPEN UNIVERSITY.
The first distance learning provider I began studying with was OU, I have written a review about this so will not go into too much detail here, but its certainly my favorite distance learning provider and the qualifications you recieve carry much more weight and credibility than other distance .
The OU is open to everyone, you do not need to have any GCSE's or other qualifications, all you need is a willingness to learn and an ability to study of your own accord.
When enrolling with OU, you will have a vast range of courses to choose from and will have the opportunity to gain a specific or an open degree - although if you prefer you could just study for pleasure. Many thousands of people are also eligible for financial support to cover all or part of your OU course and you may recieve a grant to help with associated costs - I know of no other distance learning provider who offers this.
With the OU you will recieve a pretty large parcel of materials which will usually include books, cds and dvds, you will recieve nealry everything you require to complete the course in the pack, except perhaps a reader - many of the courses require you to buy 1 or 2 extra books, not usually costing around £15 each and a common book is the Good Study Guide, which can be used again for sunsequent courses.
You use your materials to study, you will need around 8-16 hours a week depending on the length and level of the course. You will be assigned a tutor who will keep in regular contact via telephone and e-mail and if you choose a course with an online element you will have access to messge boards to chat and share ideas with other students studying your course and there is a message board especially for the students in your tutor group.
You will be continueally assesed via TMAs of ETMAs ( Tutor marked assessments and Elecrtonic tutor marked assesments ) these are submitted either post or through a secure server through the OU website. The majority of courses then have an exam which you will sit in a local exam centre, most students will not have to travel far for this and if you have a disability you may be able to sit your exam under supervision at home.
You will recieve points for each course which can then be put towards a certificate, diploma or degree - the points may also be transfered towards a course at a redbrick university and points you also have from a redbrick may be eligible to go towards and OU qualification.
You need to be determined and have the ability to be self disaplined to study with the OU but it is definitly worth it. I worried that my OU study may not be taken seriously by emplyers, however many of them are very pleased to hear you have studied with OU as it shows you can manage yourseld well and have the ability to work under your own innitiative.
Manypeople can can some funding towards the OU courses, even if you can not get full funding you could still get a portion of the fee covered so it is good to look into this - finances do not have to restrict you with the OU. They also offer grants to help with study materials and the cost of a computer in some cases.
THE DARNLEY CAREER ACADEMY
I am currently studying a GCSE in Science with DCA, it is enjoyable but it does not offer as much support as the OU.
When enrolling with DCA you have around 250 courses to choose from which include GCSE and A-Level. I am not sure I would consider doing any course other than a GCSE or A-Level with DCA as I do not think it would be taken as serously as one from a redbrick college or university or a course with OU, however the GCSE I am doing is a very thorough course and the exam is sat with those doing GCSE with other establishments, it is accredited by AQA. In addition to the exam there is coursework.
I recieved a large folder holding the course materila and I had to purchase a GCSE text book to accompany the the folder. I am not as happy with the support of DCA as I am with the OU. I have been assigned a tutor however I only have a limited number of questions I am allowed to ask my tutor, any other support I need must be sent via e-mail or I make a call to the freephone student adviors. I feel this makes the supportinconsistant as I am working with too many people. However, the course is pretty easy to follow and I have not had to make much contact as yet.
Throughout the course there are assesments, however the marks from these do not count towards to final grade, they are just so I can test my knowledge and see what I need to work harder with and recap on.
The final exam is sat in an AQA centre and the cost of the exam is not included in the price of the course, the exam will cost around an extra £70, added to the price of the text book which was £20, you need to take into account when purchasing the course that you will need around another £100 because you will aslo need to purchase some past exam papers which are around £5 each and you really need at least 2 so you can have some exam practice.
So, whilst the course is pretty comprehensive, it does not, in my opinion have enough tutor support, it also costs more than doing a GCSE at my local college who offer GCSE courses studying 4 hours a week, if I were to do another GCSE I would definitly try and find the time to go to a redbrick college where I would have more support, the interaction with other students and have to pay less as this course will in the end have cost me nearly £400 and I could have done it for half that at least.
UPDATE - This is an awful course in my opinion, the did not let me know the details for the exams in time like they said they would, my money was wasted because I did not sit the exam ( it was too late for me to find an exam placement ) so I spent all this money on nothing!
I studied via Loughborough College reccently doing a 4 month course called Fit For Life. In general Loughborough College is not a distance learning provider, however they are hosting the F4L course. The course is free and you recieve 3 workbooks and 3 assignment papers. You use the work books to assess 3 areas of your life and use the books to find ways to improve, then you chart your progress and report it on your exam paper.
The 3 areas of study are physical health, nutritional health and mental health and wellbeing. If you lie close to Loughborough College and are able to travel there, they offer free fitness testing and occasional study days for those who would like it.
You get a certificate at the end of the course if you have submitted all 3 of your assignment papers, however it is not a formal qualification, it is more for personal gain. I found the course helped me to see where I could improve my lifestyle and helped me to realise how important the 3 elements of the course were to me.
There is a tutor assigned to you to support you through the course and they make regular contact to see how you are getting on. I definitly suggest this course to others, its free and very high quality course materials and support.
THE WRITERS BUREAU
I thought about studying with WB for over a year. WB offer several courses in different aspects of writing, these include writing books for children, freelance journalism, writing memoirs , writing poetry and comprehensive writing.
I chose to do the journalism course and having requested information, I recieved special offers regularly such as 20% off and then I recieved an offer of half price course which I decided to enrol on.
I recieved a large folder to study from, it is extreamly comprehensive and I have really enjoyed reading it. Along with the the folder I recieved assignment 1 and 2. Having completed assignment 1, I sent it in to the college and they chose me a tutoe based on my writing style, whomarked the work. In the meantime I was doing assignment 2. My tutor sent me my marked assignment and the instructions for assignment 3 and I sent in assignment 2, and thats as far as I have gotten at the moment.
My tutor has a vast amount of writing experience in several areas of writing, I have his contact etails and am able to make contact whenever I need to, he is always pleased to help me.
Upon completion of 10 assignments, I will recieve a certificate of competence. My tutor also supports me by matching my work to publications, I can then send in my work and hopefully get published, the course contract saying that if I do not recieve my course fee back by selling my work within 3 months of completing my last assigment, I will get my course fee refunded, so its pretty win win.
I do not plan to become a journalist, however I think it will be a nice hobby which will hopefully make me a bit of extra money and it is a very flexible course, I have no time limit for my study, I can take as long as I wish, so its very easy to fit in with my other studies.
You have proberly already gathered that my favorite distance learning provider is the Open University, however all my distance learning experiences have been very positive, I have found all the materials to be good quality and the support I have recieved has ranged from excellent to good.
I find that distance learning has helped me to achieve a good education which I would otherwise have been unable to have for many years. If I were to study at a redbrick establishment, I would have been able to do a maximm of 1 course per year and it would have taken me longer, in addition I think I really would have struggled because I would need to find chilcare and then when my children were home I would not be able to spend as much time with them as I would like. At the moment, I can do my study whilst my children are at nurseryt and school, then when they are home I have lots of time for them, I completly reccoment distance learning to anyone who has a busyt life and would like to be able to study either for pleasure of for career reasons.
It is very important to do lots of research before enrolling on a distance learning course and make sure that the course you choose has enough support and the price is reasonable, but most importantly that if you are studying for your career, you choose a course that is accredited by a well known and recognised organisation such as AQA and City and Guilds.
So that my experience of distance learning - Good Luck to anyone who is or is thinking of studyting via distance learning, it is a very rewarding experience and will make you very proud of yourself when you see your name on the certificate at the end of it.
Summary: A great way to get a qualification in your apre time.
More reviews in the field of School / College
- The best high school!!
- Not like school
- Sixth Form, the best days of your life!
- Helpful staff and really good language courses
- A grammar School to be sniffed at!
- Distance Learning College and Training
- Teaching Assistant Level 3 Diploma Distance Learning
- CIW Foundation course not worth the paper it's printed on
- Stow College