For a long time, there was a lack of value that was applied to a home study or distance learning course.
For a long time, there was a lack of value that was applied to a home study or distance learning course. Some people thought that there were not as academic (how could they be, if you had never seen inside of a lecture hall?!), or that they did not have the basis and the content that other courses, offered in a more formal setting clearly had.
They were once seen as the poor relation, but home learning courses are now being touted as possibly the answer to the skills drought that some employers say exist within certain sectors.
What is home study?
Learning from home, e-learning, distance learning and so on, are all similar in that they are carried out in the home or another location other than the formal setting of the classroom.
Pioneers of home learning were thought to have been the University of London. In the 1850s, a batch of their courses were available for study at home and were popular.
For many years, education was a thing that was done to students, administered by a teacher in a formal setting. For some, this approach works, for others it did not. There were few other routes of education that students were encouraged to explore.
The impact of the Internet
The invention that has revolutionised every aspect of life is the Internet. And home learning has benefitted too. It meant that more people could access courses and learning, as well as there being new ways to learn and access and support.
Webinars, forums, email support, phone support and so on, are all now commonplace in the world of online learning, as well as home study courses that are paper-based.
There was only one thing that was slow to catch up – attitude toward this more relaxed way of learning. Some saw it as not being as valuable as that learning that took place in the classroom.
Thankfully, attitudes have changed and there are many driving forces behind it. One such force, some people would say, is that employers are now realising that to have the skilled and versatile workforce that they need, their staff need to be trained.
But for many employers, having staff take time out to complete training courses has huge implications on the business. It can be expensive, both in terms of training costs and the cost it has on the business with someone away from their post for a period of time.
Employers also want to see what potential employees are made of. Home study can tell a lot about the person to an employer; the determination to succeed, the ability to manage time and to cope under pressure. All the same attributes that a college student with a formal education also develops.
In other words, one course is as good as the other. The results are amazing, whether you completed your assignment at the kitchen table whilst making tea, or whether you sat in a classroom.
However, you do need to make sure that the course on offer is detailed and specific enough for the line of work that you want it for. There are several things you need to look for both in the course and the provider.
Attributes of the courses on offer by the provider
In other words, what do you need to look for in…
- Home study course
You need to check that the course on offer matches all the skills and knowledge that is needed within a certain sector of industry or work. For example, understanding whether the Supporting Teaching and Learning Level 3 is recognised by both primary and secondary education as a qualification.
If you are opting for a course that you intend to use as a springboard into a profession, check what minimum requirements an employer would look far. Match the course to what you need.
- The learning provider
Online and home study providers also need to meet certain education standards. Their tutors need to show that they have an in-depth knowledge of their subject area and most will have also worked extensively within their field too.
Check that the learning provider has courses that are accredited by exams boards and other regulatory authorities. Providers don’t need to use just one board; they will often use more than one and this means that some courses which are specific to a certain industry or sector will be accredited by their leading body.