Home learning – also known as distance learning – is not the new, modern-day concept that many people suppose that it is. It has been around for a century or more and in many ways, supports the notion that learning is a lifelong activity and not one that finishes on the day we leave school or college. Continuing professional development (CPD) is key within many organisations, investing in people has now been cemented as being central to the well-being of the person, as well as creating a thriving business.However, there are times when people want to acquire skills outside of work. They may want a complete change of direction and the NCC Home Learning courses on offer are just a few examples of the many and varied courses available.
Better still, these courses can be done in the comfort of your own home; courses that can be consumed and enjoyed at time when you want to do them and are able to do them. Many believe that home study could become more important in the future too, for learners of all ages. But with some detractors regarding the validity and value behind home learning, what are the benefits? Is it everything to all people?
The advantages of home learning
The main advantage of home learning over more traditional methods, such as the classroom, is flexibility:
Studying at your own pace is important. There may be some concepts that you understand immediately, but there may be others that take a little longer. Most home learning courses will stipulate some kind of end point although this tends to be longer than the 10 weeks, 32 weeks and so on that other courses allow. Being able to take it at your own pace but with an end point in sight is important in staying motivated.
- Study time
As a guide, many home learning courses will give you an idea of how many hours study you should aim to complete within a week. Some courses also tell you how many hours overall, as a minimum you would be expected to do. There may be some weeks when you can do more than the ‘minimum’ hours but other weeks, it may be less. There are no penalties. You decide when you can work and for how long. Your home learning fits around you and your current commitments.
There are some courses on offer via home learning that are simply not available in your locality. For example, for those studying at degree level, attending a university some miles away is a barrier to learning. With materials delivered in the post, or via your inbox, there is no need to spend money nor time on travelling to a venue.
- Work where you want
The prize-winning novelist will often tell how they wrote their novel over cappuccino and cake in their local café –why can’t you study there? In fact, it is your decision to not only study when you learn best but in a place where you learn best too, whether that is your kitchen table, a desk or sat on the bus.
- Financially appealing too
Home learning courses tend to be cheaper than classroom or college based courses, simply because the outlay and expense are less. Money is a barrier to many people from continuing their education. With many courses, you can also study and pay monthly, as well as by module in some cases.
- Work and learn
Just when you think you could not possibly squash anything more into your day, you take on a course that requires 360 hours of study. The great news is that you can carry on life to a certain extent, you don’t need to give up work but you learn flexibility. Mould your learning around life and give it the priority it needs every now and then. The rewards are magnificent.
- Fun and enjoyable
Some home courses can lead to career progression – for many people, this is the driving force. However, there are also many people who use it as a means of enjoyment too, by deepening their knowledge on a certain subject that they enjoy and are interested in. Just because you study the stars at night, does not mean you have to become an astronomer…
Is it a better method of learning?
There are some people who may not agree with the notion of home learning, assuming it is water down and a little too lax to be of value. In essence, it is a way of people being able to expand their mind and enrich their lives, as well as taking a step forward with their career.
It is an approach that can demand a high level of self-management and discipline. It can be difficult to balance life at times and may mean saying no to a night out if you have an assignment due. That said, many people find studying something they love and enjoy, whether at home or in the classroom, enriching beyond words.
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