The benefits of distance learning and open study courses

More adults than ever are considering a return to education, whether it be to attain a degree, study for a vocational qualification, or pick up a new skill. However, for many, attending college on a regular basis may not be an option, due to commitments, such as work and family. Others may feel they don't work best within a rigid structure. For these prospective new students, considering a distance learning or open study course may prove beneficial.

One of the major benefits of learning in this way, is the ability to dictate where and when you study. People with full time jobs can study in the evenings or at the weekend, while those with children can work it around school and bed times. It's not even necessary to study at home; libraries, coffee houses, and even quiet pubs often provide the necessary space students need.

Another positive aspect of distance learning is the fact it allows students to study at their own pace. While students attending university, college, or even an evening class often have to complete work according to a tight schedule, open learning is more flexible. This particularly benefits those who would perhaps feel intimidated about asking about aspects of the course they didn't understand in class. Students are able to revise areas they're unsure of and skip over the details they're confident about. Plus, if a student needs to take a few weeks or months away from the course, they can return to later and pick up where they left off.

While many see the advantages of distance learning, some students worry because they don't attend a physical place of learning they will feel cut-off from tutors and other students. However, largely due to the growth of modern technology, this has all changed. Students can now connect with other students via chat rooms and forums, and some tutors even set up virtual classes over the internet. Telephone or e-mail conversations with tutors to discuss particular areas of concern are often possible too.

Open study is not only restricted to certain subjects either. Students are now able to take postgraduate and undergraduate degrees, diplomas, A levels and GCSEs in order to attain academic qualifications. However, those looking to develop a skill or expand an interest are catered for too, with subjects as diverse as photography, creative writing and foreign language courses available. For those looking for more information, the Open University is a good place to start. Visit their website at open.ac.uk to find out more. Many traditional universities and colleges also operate distance learning and open study courses. Check individual websites for details. Happy studying!

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