Distance Learning


What is It?

Distance Learning is when you study at home, or wherever you want to, rather than in a set location such as a university or college.  The work can be taught via books, the internet or a combination of these.


What Can you Study?

Practically anything, depending on whether you are looking for a short, general interest course or a qualification such as a degree.  Some subjects need to contain a practical element, such as in a science laboratory, which will be arranged with you, usually as a residential event, which will have to be paid for, although the initial course fee may include the price for this.


Advantages and Disadvantages


  • You don’t have to be in a class at a particular location at a particular time.
  • You can work at your own pace, as long as you meet the set deadlines.
  • You aren’t limited to studying what your local schools and colleges provide.
  • You can decide between courses for fun, up to university-level work.



  • It can be more expensive than face-to-face classes.
  • It can be difficult to recognise which online organisations are genuine and which are fake.
  • Although you can interact with other learners online, you may not be able to meet in person.
  • You need to be a confident user of computers, and have regular access to one.
  • You need to remain motivated to keep up-to-date with the work without regular classes to attend.


General Advice

  • If you know the subject area of what you want to study, do your research to ensure that you are doing the most appropriate course, and one that you think you will enjoy.  There is no point spending a lot of money on something that you aren’t sure about.
  • Research the organisation fully before committing to anything and paying any money.
  • Make sure you are aware of all the details of your chosen course, including payment options and assessment deadlines, including exam dates and locations.
  • Make use of the resources that are available to you, including online forums, and local tutorials, if they are provided.
  • Keep organised.  It is very easy to put off work and get behind, without attendance at a class to guide you, so keep a copy of the course plan handy, and stick to it as much as possible.
  • Don’t be afraid to withdraw from a course if you decide it is not for you, or this form of studying is not for you.