Online education or Distance Learning, has become very popular in recent years, with many institutions choosing to offer courses online. Accessing continuing education online means that you study in your own home, at a time convenient to you. You can also continue to work while you study for your qualifications. However, what are the options for accessing continuing education?
If you plan to follow a structured educational programme leading to a recognised qualification, for example to study a degree online, then you should make sure that the online courses have some accreditation.
This means that it is generally recognised by prominent educational institutions and professional bodies and it meets with their criteria for content, appropriate level of study and quality of learning materials.
This, in turn, gives the qualification educational standing and therefore, other institutions will accept the qualification, for example as an entrance qualification for a higher level course of study.There are many businesses online offering distance learning courses, but not all have any accreditation. If however, you are just looking for courses purely for pleasure, maybe online art courses, or a craft course, then accreditation may not be an important factor for you.
Accessing online courses
There are organisations offering vocational style courses online, NCFE, with its Vision2Learn ‘E programme’,which benefits young people aged 14-19, who might otherwise struggle to get five GCSE passes, grades A-C. Online learning let them develop at their own pace, and put them firmly in control of their progress.
Students can continue with this route even after they have left school. ‘Learn Direct’ is another organisation providing courses in Maths, English, IT and Business courses online, for people over the age of sixteen. They also specialise in ‘Skills for life’ courses concentrating on basic literacy and numeracy skills for adults.
If you are looking to study a degree online, then The Open University offers online courses, as well as distance learning courses that incorporate the use of online materials. If you’re looking for business courses, it is possible to study an MBA online, with both Liverpool University and Warwick University to name but two, who offer a 100% online MBA degrees (Master of Business Administration).
The BBC also has an excellent resource for online business studies courses at Bbc.co.uk.
Some institutions may require previous educational qualifications as prerequisites for entry to some online courses, but others, like the Open University offer a range of courses where no prior learning is assumed, and students can gradually build up their educational skills and confidence.