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e-learning can give you the freedom and flexibility to learn when and where you want and at your own pace. You can study a wide range of subjects at any level, and e-learning can be ideal if the subject you're interested in isn't available nearby.
What are the benefits of e-learning?
e-learning makes use of information and communications technology to provide innovative ways to learn. Distance learning covers learning remotely on courses such as home study or 'self-study' courses, which can be combined with e-learning.
e-learning may appeal to you if you:
- want to learn when and where you want, at your own pace
- have commitments which make it harder for you to attend a regular course
- have mobility or health problems that make travel or attendance difficult
- live a long way from a training provider
- work irregular hours or shifts
How does e-learning work?
A variety of media is used to help with learning and to provide communication between learners and tutors. These include:
- traditional written materials, such as books and manuals
- television and radio broadcasts
- audio tapes and CD-ROMs
- online information
- online groups
- video conferencing
- email support
Your tutor can provide support by phone, email, online or by post. You might be able to communicate with other learners by email or website discussion groups. This helps you learn from the rest of the group and comment on each other's work. There is usually a good range of support available to help you organise your time and manage your learning.
To get a feel of what e-learning is like, try taking a free taster course online. If you don't have internet access at home, you can get free access at UK online centres and libraries. Staff will also be able to help you.
The Open University
The Open University (OU) is the largest university in Europe, with more than two million people taking courses to further their careers, make up for missed opportunities, or pursue personal interests.
Open University courses generally have no entry requirements, and no upper age limit. Courses range from short courses for people who have never studied before to specialist courses aimed at postgraduates. If you haven't studied for some time or are interested in a new subject, short courses and a special programme called the 'Openings Programme' can help you discover if OU study is right for you.
OU qualifications mark academic success but also show that you have commitment, ambition and self discipline.
National Extension College
The National Extension College (NEC) helps people of all ages fit learning into their lives. The NEC supports over 10,000 learners a year on over 100 home study courses. The website has a range of features to help you study effectively. As a learner you can get online support and access to the NEC student group - a free online group, as well as other specific course groups.
If you want to gain a nationally recognised qualification in maths, English, IT and more then learndirect could be right for you. You’ll be able to learn at a time and place to suit you – either at home, work or in one of their centres around the country. You’ll have tutor support every step of the way, and there’s usually government funding available to cover the cost of your learning so you may not have to pay a penny.
Find a distance learning course
You can search for distance learning courses and providers by using the Next Step course search.