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How Does Distance Learning Work?

How does distance learning work? This is a question we get asked a lot. Learning from home can be a daunting experience for people who have only ever studied in a classroom. This is especially true of things like A Level and GCSE /IGCSE courses. Pupils who’ve previously studied in a school or college will be used to having multiple layers of support around them, helping to do things like arrange exams and set up study timetables. Many first time distance learning students worry that none of this support will be available to them.

If you study with a course provider like UK Distance Learning & Publishing you needn’t worry, but it is certainly true that learning from home will always involve you taking on more personal responsibility for your studies.

How Does Distance Learning Work? – Exams

Let’s take one of the points above as an example: arranging exams. When you were in school this was something you’d never really have to think about. A teacher would just tell you the dates and all you need do is turn up. So, how does distance learning work when arranging exams? Once you leave school you become what’s known as a ‘private candidate’ (someone who wants to take exams but isn’t registered to any particular institution). There are loads of schools and colleges that accept private candidates, and will let you sit your exams alongside their own students. However, it’s up to you to find them and make the arrangements. If you study with UKDLP, we’ll provide you with a list of our recommended centres and tell you how you can search for more. But in the end you will have to be the one to pick one and make the final arrangements. This gives you greater flexibility than you’d have at a school, but also a greater degree of responsibility (and paperwork).




How Does Distance Learning Work? – Study Timetable

This pattern is something that really defines distance learning. More flexibility, more responsibility. Another example of this trade off lies with your study timetable. If you were at school or college, you would expect to be provided with a timetable outlining your lessons for the week. You might also expect to be given homework deadlines. With home study you will not have this level of structure imposed on you. Sound good? Many students initially love the freedom that distance learning bestows on them. However, 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. It can give yourself the illusion that you have almost unlimited time to play with. The answer is to make a plan, and stick to it. UK Distance Learning will provide you with a tutor, who will help you to plan your studies if you ask them. 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. So, how does distance learning work when planning a study timetable? The answer is very much up to your own level of discipline.

How Does Distance Learning Work? – Tutors

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. They won’t be shy of sending you to detention or giving you a good bollocking if they think you’re slacking. Some students need this kind of motivation from their teachers, but others find it de-motivating. If you’re in the latter category, then you might find that distance learning suits you a lot better. A UK Distance Learning 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 start the conversation. So, if you’re doing an A-Level in Biology and aren’t clear on how photosynthesis works, you’d need to email your tutor and ask for help. They wouldn’t scold you for not paying closer attention when you were reading the course material, but simply give you what you asked for. Therefore, to make the most of your online learning experience, you need to make sure that you make the effort to maintain a good relationship with your tutor. If you don’t use your tutor, and just wait for them to chase you, you’re wasting a hugely valuable resource.




How does distance learning work? – FAQs

As far as other valuable resources go, I sincerely hope that this short article has given some of you a few ideas on how distance learning works. If you want any further advice about how to structure your online learning, please feel to get in touch with us. You can also read our FAQ, and A Level FAQ pages.