When you first enter the busy world of parenthood, it can feel like you barely have time to draw breath.
Between the school run, helping with homework and cooking meals, it’s a constant juggling act, which means there’s a tendency to put other life goals like education and career development on the backburner.
This is where distance learning comes into its own – it’s a flexible study method that enables you to work through course modules online at your own comfortable pace, whilst enjoying the same benefits as campus-based students. And this enhanced convenience makes it a more practical and parent-friendly option when compared with campus-based learning.
Not convinced yet? Here are five reasons distance learning empowers parents.
1. Be your own boss
As a parent you’re in charge of your children, so you might not feel entirely comfortable returning to the typical classroom student – teacher dynamic. But distance learning allows you to take charge of your studies because it affords you a sense of freedom that campus-based courses don’t.
For instance, whilst you still have course tutors, the lack of face to face contact and timetabled classes means they won’t be able to dictate your study patterns quite so directly. Instead, you’re free to work at your own pace, thus allowing for the unpredictability of parenthood.
So whether you prefer to break study down into small night-time sessions whilst the kids are in bed, or you’re a busy worker who’d prefer to dedicate a day of your weekend to learning, the choice is yours.
One of the biggest obstacles for parents to navigate when considering a return to education is fitting study around parental responsibilities. Distance learning makes everything more manageable because you can head online and study at the times that suit you best and are least disruptive to family commitments.
For instance, you might study more intensively during term-time and slow things down during the holidays when there’s more time for you to spend doing fun things with your children.
This flexibility to study when you like also makes distance learning a practical option for working parents or those considering seeking employment in order to fund your studies. You can revise during the evenings, the weekends or even your lunchbreak – whenever is most convenient.
Just beware that some distance learning courses do require a small amount of on campus attendance. However, you’ll be made aware of these at the earliest opportunity, so you can make the necessary childcare arrangements, enjoy a brief break from parenthood and take the opportunity to meet your course mates and tutors in person.
3. Study anywhere
Many universities offer opportunities for students to study abroad at prestigious partner universities. However, uprooting your family for overseas study isn’t a viable option when you’re a busy parent. On a distance learning course with an international and inclusive institution, you’ll be able to keep in close touch with your key contacts at all times, meaning the academic world really is your oyster.
Furthermore, this lack of geographical restrictions means that you’ll also have a wider range of courses to choose from, which vastly increases your chances of finding one that’s the right fit for achieving your desired study outcomes, be they career development, learning something new or breaking into a different field.
As if that weren’t enough, you can also conduct your studies from home and cause minimal disruption to your family routine. And you might feel much more productive and comfortable in your living room with the TV turned on, a warm brew by your side and a handy supply of biscuits.
4. Digital skills
Technology is advancing at a rapid rate and as a consequence many countries are currently experiencing a digital skills gap, where workers lack the digital expertise required for vital job roles and employers are struggling to recruit suitable candidates.
As a consequence, digital proficiency is highly sought after in the majority of professions and thankfully you’ll develop some useful digital skills as a brilliant by-product of learning online.
This could be something as simple as sending emails or uploading work to the university portal, or slightly more technical skills such as creating visual content (videos, presentations etc). This is great news for any technophobic parents who are struggling to keep up with digital trends, or want to brush up their skills to sharpen their competitive edge in the job market.
Furthermore, distance learning courses offer students added value, because no matter what course you study, you’ll be using state-of-the-art technology to conduct your studies, therefore you’ll become comfortable in working with digital resources. It’s therefore a savvy investment for parents with limited funds to spare for non-familial expenditures.
5. Virtual campus
When you’re a busy parent with kids to feed and a household to run, campus life can be challenging. But on a distance learning course, you’ll be able to detach yourself from traditional campus life as much as you desire and focus solely on getting the most from your course academically.
However, you’re never completely alone on a distance learning course, as most institutions have online Learning Management Systems which serve as a virtual campus where you can enjoy key elements of campus life such as lectures, group study sessions and general socialising, all from the comfort of your home or other preferred study venue.
Online Learning Management Systems therefore allow you to get as involved with campus life as you’re comfortable with.
So whether you’re someone who wants to keep yourself to yourself and focus firmly on your studies or enjoy socialising with course mates via discussion boards and during group study sessions, distance learning gives you the freedom to choose.
Parenthood doesn’t have to mean putting your personal ambitions on pause permanently – distance learning gives you the flexibility, freedom and control you need to make academic studies achievable.
So if you’re developing a plan for improving the lives of both yourself and your family, it could be the perfect fit.
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