Learning from home can be a daunting experience for people who have only ever studied in a classroom environment. This is especially true for mature students who may not have studied for many years. Studying in a school or college environment provides multiple layers of support around the student, helping with revision, study timetables and advice. The assumption of many first time distance learning students is that none of this support will be available to them.
However, if you study with a course provider like UK Distance Learning & Publishing this is not necessarily the case, but it is certainly true that, whatever you do, learning from home will always involve you taking on more personal responsibility for your studies.
Let’s take one of the points above as an example: study timetables. When you were in school this was something you’d never really have to think about, your class timetable would be given to you and all you needed to do was turn up and observe the homework deadlines. Not so with distance learning. Once you leave school you become responsible for setting and maintaining your own study schedule and progressing through the course in a timely manner.
If you study with UK Distance Learning & Publishing, we’ll provide you with a comprehensive study guide and can help you set up a study schedule, but in the end you will have to be the one to follow the plan and put in the work. This gives you greater flexibility than you’d have at a school, but also a greater degree of responsibility.
This pattern is something that really defines distance learning: more flexibility, but more responsibility.
Many students initially love the freedom that distance learning bestows on them, but if they aren’t careful it can become a trap. If you have no formal deadlines or planned hours of study it can be very easy to start putting things off, giving yourself the illusion that you have almost unlimited time to play with.
The solution is to make a plan, and stick to it. UK Distance Learning will provide you with a tutor, who will help you plan your studies if you ask them, but ultimately it’s up to you to figure it out yourself. The great thing is that you’ll be able to tailor your plan to fit around work or family commitments, and it’s easier to move things around if you need to, but it won’t work if you aren’t self-disciplined.
Speaking of discipline, the way you interact with your tutor is another area of difference between a distance learning course and a classroom. In a classroom, your teachers will not only be there to tell you things, but to make sure that you’re listening, and they won’t be shy of sending you to detention or giving you a good telling off if they think you’re slacking. Some students need this kind of motivation from their teachers, but others find it oppressive and counter-productive. If you’re in the latter category, then you might find that distance learning suits you a lot better.
A UK Distance Learning & Publishing tutor is not there to bully you into doing anything. If you don’t want to press on with your studies, then they won’t chase you. It’s up to you to get in touch with your tutor and initiate the conversation. So, if you’re having trouble understanding a lesson or what’s required for an assignment then you’d need to email your tutor and ask for a clarification. They are there to help!
Therefore, to make the most of your online learning experience, you need to make sure that you make the effort to maintain a rapport with your tutor, and take full advantage of them. If you don’t use your tutor, and just wait for them to chase you, you’re wasting a hugely valuable resource.
I hope that this short article has given some of you a few ideas on what to expect from distance learning and how to manage your time studying with us. If you want any further advice about how to structure your online learning, please feel to get in touch with us (or better yet your tutor!). You can also read our FAQ.