Distance Education Course Help

by : Roger White

How to initiate a distance education course? That's the question you may be asking yourself if you've come to the conclusion it would be a good idea to get qualifications in a particular area, or maybe just increase your knowledge of the subject, but you've no idea how to get started.

Here are nine general points to cover:

1. Have a think about what it is you want to achieve, and make a list. It's okay if it only consists of a single line, such as “Learn to make French sauces".

The reason for doing this is to avoid picking a course you don't really need. For example, you might want knowledge on how to sell your house without the help of a realtor. It's unlikely you need a full real estate learning program. But you might want a course that covers how to improve the curb appeal of your house as well as the legalities you need to cover. And it's likely that you'll need something that tackles any local laws that apply, or at least refers you to a place you can find the information you need. The answer to questions like these will determine the course you need to look for.

2. Research the program you need to follow. Where to look for your distance education course? Online is an obvious contender. Or try magazines devoted to the subject you're interested in. Such courses will appear in the classified advertisement section, or, if they're really popular, somewhere among the editorial. They'll usually be smallish box ads (though not necessarily: Linguaphone have been known to take out much larger display adverts)

3. Decide whether accredited distance learning programs are what you should be considering. Accreditation will have greater or lesser importance depending on what you're aiming to achieve. If so, make sure that the accrediting body has good standing. It may be worth doing a little digging on the internet to establish this

4. Consider how you'll plan and manage an e-learning program or correspondence course. You will be making a commitment of time and money, and on top of that, you'll be putting in some work. If you're following an e-learning program, will you have access to a computer when you need it? These things will need some thought on your part.

5. Consider how will you pay? Single modules can eem expensive enough, but if you're embarking on a degree course, the cost will represent a considerable investment. You may have to arrange a loan, perhaps via your bank, or, depending on your status, a student loan.

6. Arrange the time. In reality, unless you live alone, that means negotiating with family members, rescheduling parts of your life, making resolutions to get up early or stay up after everyone else has gone to bed so you can study.

7. It will definitely be a good idea to approach your boss if your course is in any way work-related. So if you're trying to improve your work prospects, ask if there's any chance of help with the costs, some free time at work to study (some employers have a program for these things), and perhaps some flexibility in your attendance if you need to be elsewhere for exams, etc. (Promise, you'll make the time up later, although if you work for a great company, this may not be necessary)

8. Sign up for the course.

There's a natural human tendency to question whether we're doing the right thing, whether this wouldn't all be a waste of money, to imagine that our life is going to be disrupted beyond belief if we start doing something new. It's not true.

Or we may wonder what will happen if we fail. Well, you have to be spectacularly bad to fail. Exams assume you aren't going to be 100%, and pass rates in some subjects are as low as 65%. Besides, online colleges aren't out to fail you. They want you to keep coming back for more.

9. Be prepared to have to work through periods where you feel less than motivated. No article on how to initiate a distance learning course would be complete without mentioning that after about four weeks of hard work, you'll hit the occasional slump in enthusiasm. It's important to have some mechanism to keep you going. One strategy is to itemize your goals--or dig out your list from point 1 above--then write next to each why it is vital you achieve them. Keep hat image in your head, or repeating your goals to yourself. You may not end up firing on all cylinders, but you will have reminded yourself that, as NASA would say, failure is not an option. It will be enough to keep you going

And there you have it: nine tips to get you off to a flying start in your distance-learning program. Good luck!