A smiling woman learning soft skills

5 Soft Skills You’ll Master with Distance Learning

8th December 2021

With a proven track record of success, it’s clear that there are many benefits to distance learning.  

It’s a flexible and accessible way to study that fits around your working life, your family and other commitments, and your personal and professional goals.

As a unique learning format, distance learning is designed to put the power of education into the hands of students. And though it offers a very different experience from a traditional campus university education, it has its own advantages that make it a fantastic choice for learners at any stage of their journey.

Whatever you choose to study, an online degree will equip you for the next stage in your career, not only with essential skills for your industry, but a range of ‘soft skills’ too. These are non-technical skills that don’t require a qualification, but which are ultimately essential in the workplace.

Skills such as time management, organisation, and the ability to work both independently and as part of a team will serve you well in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive job market, and help you stand out from the crowd whatever your industry.

With online learning from ARU, you’ll have the chance to hone these skills alongside your degree to round out your CV and prepare you for success in your next role. Read on to discover just five soft skills you’ll master through distance learning.  

1. Adaptability

Change is inevitable in any workplace environment.

And for many students, whether you’re returning to education or are taking your first steps to a new qualification, distance learning may require a period of adjustment.

If you’re accustomed to remote working arrangements, either through previous study or working from home, many of these elements may be familiar to you. But if your current role is based in a physical workplace – for instance, if you’re in a healthcare role – the idea of working remotely may be wholly unfamiliar to you.

And although some of our courses do feature in-person elements, the vast majority of our courses take place 100% online, meaning that throughout your course, you’ll study through our world class online LMS (learning management system).

As you become adept with these systems, you’ll learn valuable digital literacy skills that will futureproof your ability to adapt to the ever-evolving nature of systems and software as these become increasingly essential – and increasingly subject to change – in the workplace.

Whether you’re studying a degree in a largely remote field, such as digital marketing, or working towards your next career move in a more hands-on environment such as education, many sectors are moving increasingly towards digitisation and technological integration. An ability to adjust to this quickly will help you establish yourself as a savvy and adaptable candidate.

Adaptability is a crucial skill in the workforce – less than two years ago, working from home became the new standard overnight. In an unforeseen shift which saw business changing their operations immediately, companies were forced to adapt not only the delivery of their products and services, but their working practices too. And with many remote working arrangements here to stay, those who are well accustomed to such setups through experiences such as distance learning will be placed well ahead of the curve, giving you a major advantage.

No one can predict what the next big shake up will be in the world of work. But whether it’s the changing role of machine learning and AI, or the introduction of a four-day working week, it’s vital that companies – and their staff – are equipped to handle the changes ahead. With distance learning, you’ll have the skills to adapt and adjust no matter what happens.

2. Time Management

Distance learning is extremely useful for those who lead busy lifestyles, as it’s designed to fit flexibly around your schedule. 

However, it also requires some serious time management skills, as you’ll be responsible for creating your own study timetable.

As a distance learner, you may be juggling parenthood, caring responsibilities, and a full-time career, alongside study and deadlines. Online study is liberating for students, but it requires a keen ability to organise to stay ahead of the game.

But mastering time management through distance learning will empower you to make the most of every hour in the day, in your professional, academic and personal life.

Time is one of the most valuable resources in any company or organisation, and the ability to maximise efficiency through time management is key to improving your overall performance in any role. It will also enable and unlock your potential as a leader, as you’ll be well-positioned to assist teams in boosting productivity and manage workloads.

It’s also common for companies to set time management targets for their staff, and with a distance learning degree, you’ll have the skills to demonstrate to a future employer that you are capable of timely organisation and can efficiently handle adherence to deadlines.

3. Communication

Distance learning is an independent affair, but it is not a solo pursuit.  

And throughout your course, you’ll work alongside fellow students and tutors alike. Successful communication will be key to making the most of your course, and the ability to foster collaboration under remote circumstances, particularly if your course involves elements of groupwork.  

This is a vitally important skill in the workplace, as offices are increasingly diverse in their day-to-day working practices – you may be working with a team that is fully or partially remote. These arrangements can make communication difficult to co-ordinate – miscommunication, alienation and lack of real team-building opportunities are all challenges faced by remote teams. An ability to navigate these challenges to support all team members and ensure effective and useful communication will serve you well in the workplaces of the future.

With a distance learning degree, you’ll learn to steer challenging communicational scenarios and develop adaptable interpersonal skills that will boost your abilities as a team player and potential future manager.  

4. Research

An essential skill in academia, all of our courses contain an element of research. 

If you’re building on a previous qualification with a Masters or top-up degree course, you may already be familiar with research methodology in your field, in which case your course will give you the opportunity to expand on your existing approach. However, if you’re at the beginning of your academic journey with an entry level qualification, your course will help you master the art of research to get the most out of your degree.

At every level of study, you’ll have the full assistance of your tutors and access to a wealth of fantastic resources along the way to aid your course development. But research can also be a highly independent skill, and our distance learning format will enable you to harness the requisite initiative and confidence to conduct relevant research into a topic.

It’s also a vital skill for any working role, and the ability to source useful information with a productive aim is crucial to problem-solving. Research is also a skill that looks great on your CV, as it demonstrates to employers that you are analytical, independent and able to explore and build upon new ideas.

5. Self-Motivation

Companies seek employees who are self-motivated go-getters – those who can commence on tasks with minimal direction, deliver in a timely fashion and find their own inspiration. 

With distance learning, you’ll take complete charge of your studies. This is designed to empower you as a student, and put you in control, but it also means that the challenge of staying on task and hitting deadlines is in your hands. That’s why, with a distance learning degree, you’ll learn how to self-motivate to meet set targets as well as personal study goals.

Distance learning gives you the power to study wherever and whenever is convenient for you. But with this comes the challenge of beating distractions, interruptions and obstacles for study, and when you’re juggling a hectic schedule which may involve full-time work, childcare and a host of other commitments, it can be hard to maintain your focus and tempting to push back flexible tasks to a later date.

While this is one of the benefits of distance learning, it is also one of its key challenges. But as you persevere with your course, you’ll become a driven self-starter with the ability to take initiative – a highly attractive quality to employers and one which will help you take charge and stand out in any role.

With these five soft skills honed over the course of your study programme, you’ll have a new qualification which demonstrates your talent and knowledge in your chosen field as well as a set of highly useful abilities that will enable you to excel in the workplace.

Distance learning is a fast-track not only to your dream job, but to your personal development. With our uniquely refined format of flexible study, you’ll have the chance to enhance your soft skills in a one-of-a-kind digital environment and achieve your ambitions. 

Want to know more about our distance learning courses? Take a look at the following blogs.