Have you ever thought about starting a distance learning degree, only to wonder if it could really fit comfortably around the demands of your lifestyle?
Taking an online degree or diploma certainly requires discipline and commitment. However, if you’ll permit us a little toot on our own trumpet, the courses, learning environments and teaching methods used at ARU Distance Learning have been specifically designed to make higher education as accessible as possible for students who, for various reasons, may not be able to pursue physical campus courses.
It’s definitely possible to learn while you earn without quitting your job and many of our students fit their learning alongside their childcare duties too, whilst some even make time to study while they’re serving and protecting as members of the Armed Forces.
This blog takes a look at just five types of students that thrive as distance learners – and if you recognise yourself in any of these, maybe you could do it too!
The thought of balancing a laptop in one hand whilst holding a small screaming human covered in random foodstuffs in the other might fill you with dread. But if you’re a parent who wants to pursue an online degree, don’t worry – it doesn’t have to be like that.
You will have course deadlines to work towards, but when you attend the virtual seminars, liaise with classmates and tutors, and conduct research in between is largely up to you – whether that’s fitting in some study in the morning after nursery or school drop-off, late at night when kids are tucked up in bed, or early in the morning when they’re still snoozing. You can also squeeze in a little work on your phone while you’re out and about, whether you’re sitting in a waiting room at your GPs or parked up for a while during after-school club pickups.
As we’ve expounded before in this very blog, distance learning empowers parents because it puts flexibility first, enables you to steer your own learning journey, lets you study anywhere and enhances your digital skills by default – a valuable by-product in the current environment where many of us have been supporting our children through their own (unplanned) remote learning experiences.
2. Mature learners
At ARU, we definitely believe in the time-served adage ‘you’re never too old to learn’ and we’ve had some very successful and satisfied students who have been many years into their retirements. That’s why we’re always surprised when we hear prospective students in their late 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s verbalise worries that they’re too advanced in years to take on new information, whether studying at university level for the first time or returning to the books after a long hiatus.
In fact, many of our mature students become course superstars – they’re often some of the most diligent and determined learners, with life skills and viewpoints which enrich everyone’s learning experience and are deeply valued by their peers and tutors.
Not convinced? Take Tom Jenkins as an example – last year he graduated with his ARU Distance Learning degree in Charity and Social Enterprise Management in order to further expand his skillset for the Christian charities and street pastor network he devotes his time to.
3. International students
Another awesome advantage of taking a distance learning degree from a UK institution is that you can complete it from anywhere in the world while enjoying the cachet of earning a British qualification which is accredited by industry regulators for its vocational value.
For instance, if you’re a budding psychologist, taking an Applied and Clinical Psychology BSc that’s accredited by the British Psychological Society adds an impressive string to your bow which can lead to further study at master’s or doctoral level, and could provide you with a foot in the door for a fascinating new career.
Need some inspiration? Take a look at Maria Nadaria, an ARU Distance Learning alumnus who built a successful non-profit foundation in her home nation of Georgia after graduating and believes that studying remotely provided her with the knowledge, skillset and confidence to succeed.
4. Career changers
Does your job leave you feeling befuddled, bored, detached and perhaps even a little depressed?
You’re not alone – Gallup has revealed that just 15% of the world’s full-time workers are engaged at work.
But the brilliant news is that distance learning can help you migrate careers without telling your boss what you really think of them, chucking your laptop out of the nearest window and storming out of the office leaving chaos in your wake.
A vocational distance learning degree can help you switch to an entirely new career or even climb the ladder in your own company. And even if you know for certain that you want to leave your current job, having the goal of graduating and moving on will make things feel more manageable in the meantime.
Distance learning worked wonderfully well for Radoslaw Mozyrko, who was talent spotted while working in Nottingham after completing his Coaching for Performance in Football BSc and now works in his dream job for Legia Warsaw FC.
5. Military minds
If there’s one professional sector where time is at a premium and discipline is a prerequisite for success, it has to be the armed forces.
And whether you’re intent on climbing the ranks and need a formal qualification to provide you with the necessary clout to throw your hat in the ring when the ideal opportunity arises, or you’re approaching the end of your service, are about to transition to civvy street and need to enhance your CV to gain entry to a particular profession, distance learning can be your passport.
In conjunction with military experts, ARU Distance Learning has developed a suite of degrees for servicemen and women in the Royal Navy, Army and RAF who want to broaden their skillsets even further and we’re proud to have several forces alumni. For instance, RAF student Danny Shaw worked through undergraduate and postgraduate distance learning careers and is now working towards a doctorate as he forges ahead in his career as an RAF medic.
As you can see, distance learning can suit learners from several diverse walks of life and naturally you might fall into several of the categories we’ve described – in which case you should feel doubly (or even triply!) assured that distance learning is the right fit for you. And at a time when remote learning and online degrees have suddenly become mainstream, it pays to pick a provider with a long record of success in the sector.
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