Young man working at home with laptop surrounded by houseplants

Dispelling 5 Common Myths About Distance Learning

19th August 2022

For distance learning students at ARU, an online degree is an opportunity to learn flexibly in accordance with your own commitments.

It provides for many an alternative to the typical barriers of education – for mid-life career changers, parents and carers, armed forces personnel and many more, it is a chance to continue your academic and career progression in the face of these challenges.

And yet, there pervades a major campaign of misinformation around distance learning. Would-be students of online degrees are subjected to a number of myths around the innovative teaching method offered by educators for many years – we ourselves have offered distance learning courses since as early as 2003.

Our latest blog explores just five of the most common myths about distance learning, and the realities behind these misconceptions. Read on to find out what you really know about distance learning.

1. Distance learning degrees don’t count

There is a common perception that employers don’t regard online qualifications in the same way they do ones from traditional universities.

However, this idea is largely incorrect, and in fact a distance learning qualification can be just a relevant as any other, particularly in today’s remote-driven world where many graduates currently qualifying from major universities have studied the majority of their courses online at some point over the past few years anyway.

Additionally, if you had any further doubts about the validity of our courses, many of them are accredited by the appropriate professional bodies. For instance, our Applied & Clinical Psychology BSc is recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS), whilst we have a number of courses accredited by the Chartered Management Institute, including our MBA qualification.

In addition to a range of accreditations, we also have a number of successful alumni from our distance learning courses who can demonstrate the worth of our online degrees through their own successes.

In short, if you’re looking to progress your career, a distance learning degree will give you all the skills you need to gain that crucial recognition and advance.

2. Distance learning is lonely

One of the most common misconceptions is that distance learning is an isolating experience.

And whilst you won’t have the same regular face-to-face contact you’d generally have with a traditional university course, by no means will you be alone throughout your studies.

Our courses are taught via Canvas, an innovative Learning Management System. As well as making available the learning resources for your course, this system facilitates communication between yourself and your tutors as well as fellow students. Some courses even give you the opportunity to collaborate with peers on group projects, meaning you’ll have the chance to connect on a personal and academic level and benefit from the expertise and insights of others – our courses welcome students from many walks of life, so you’ll have the chance to learn from others with a range of diverse experiences in both your subject and the wider world.

Moreover, some of our courses feature an in-person element – such as our Data Science MSc. Delivered in conjunction with Cambridge Spark, the course features a Bootcamp which gives you practical experience as well the opportunity to meet other students. Alternatively, your course may have overseen elements during which you will be supervised by practitioners in your field. These practical elements are not a part of every course – many of our distance learning qualifications take place 100% online – but those which do give students a chance to put learned skills into practice in study environments.

However you study, you’ll soon find that far from leaving students isolated, our courses are designed to foster connection even in distance learning environments, all the while giving you the chance to work autonomously and independently.

3. Distance learning courses are of a lower quality

Originating as Cambridge School of Art in 1858, and later officially established as a university in 1992, ARU is a historic academic campus with a string of awards and acclaims to its name – amongst them, rankings as high as #1 in the Guardian League Tables for Sports Sciences degrees.

And our distance learning branch is no different. We place the exact same pride and care into each of our courses.

As a student of a distance learning degree with ARU, you’ll benefit from the commitment of our highly experienced tutors, all of whom are deeply dedicated to your success and there to support you. Our online courses are designed to make learning accessible for all, and in doing so we never compromise on the quality of our teachings. That’s why our distance learning students have the same access to tutors that our campus students can expect, albeit through an adapted remote platform.

Countless credentials that can attest to the success of our tutors and students, rest assured that distance learning courses are delivered with the same quality and commitment to education as our traditional campus degrees.

4. Distance learning isn’t that flexible

The flexibility of distance learning is one of its key selling points for many of our students.

And while you’ll still be required to adhere to certain deadlines, ultimately the way your day-to-day study schedule looks is up to you.

We have students from a range of professions, and from healthcare to education, business to the armed forces, our learners’ schedules are always in control when it comes to their online learning. You can decide to learn whenever and wherever you like, with digitised learning resources accessible from your phone, tablet or PC.

In addition to this, many of our courses come with part time options as well as full-time, meaning if you don’t have as much time to commit to your learning, you may choose to extend your course over a longer period of time, giving you more time to study.

But in reality, distance learning is truly the most flexible way to earn a new degree.

5. Distance learning is not an effective way to learn

Distance learning has been met with scepticism from some, and a certain degree of criticism following the pandemic. Many traditional universities were forced at the last minute to convert their classes into online teaching under lockdown, leaving countless students experiencing negative knock-on effects to their education.

ARU has been offering distance learning courses for over 20 years. In other words, we’re experienced at what we do and our courses are designed to counter all the issues faced by students who were victims of last-minute distance learning across the past two years.

Distance learning is irrefutably effective – when it’s done right. And that’s what ARU are committed to. Our degrees are designed to captivate our students just as well as any campus course, maintain motivation and ultimately give you the tools for success.

Want to know more about how distance learning works? Check out the following blogs: