How Distance Learning Works
Starting a distance learning course can be daunting, especially if you haven’t done any formal learning for some time. At Distance Learning College and Training, we provide a full range of support to help you achieve success on your chosen course.
In this post, we’ll explain what happens when you enrol on your chosen course, and how the distance learning process works.
Each student is assigned three key contacts at Distance Learning College. These three people will be your main points of contact for everything to do with your course and your studies:
Tutor: Your tutor is responsible for the academic side of your course – setting and marking work, giving feedback and helping you with your studies. Your tutor will be an industry professional with many years’ practical experience of the subject you’re studying, as well as an experienced and highly qualified teacher.
Student Mentor: Your student mentor is responsible for the pastoral side of student life – fitting your studies around your working and family life as well as supporting you on matters such as study techniques.
Student Liaison Officer: Your student liaison officer deals with the administrative side of your studies – booking exams, keeping your Institute membership up to date and managing any other administrative needs.
Registration & Course Materials:
When you first sign up for a course, your Student Liaison Officer will enrol you and will send out a welcome pack with all the information you need to get started on your course.
Your course materials – the textbooks, reading material and any other materials you need to complete the course – are all included in the cost of your course, but to avoid being overwhelming they are sent out in batches as you need them. So, as you complete one section of your course, the materials you’ll need for the next part will be delivered to you. (The only exception to this is for international students – due to the high cost of postage your materials may be sent out in a single shipment).
Your welcome pack will also include details of your tutor, and the information you need to arrange your course induction with them.
Once your registration and enrolment is complete, you’ll be able to contact your tutor to arrange your induction. Your induction will be carried out over the telephone, and will allow you to get to know your tutor, find out about the course and answer any questions before you start studying.
Your tutor will take this opportunity to introduce themselves, tell you about their background and experience and explain how you can contact them for assistance when you need it. More importantly, they’ll also use the induction session to find out about you, your experience and career goals, which will enable them to tailor the course to make it as relevant as possible to your work experience and ensure that you receive the maximum benefit from studying.
During your induction, your tutor will also help you to decide how much time you can devote to your studies, which will allow them to create a timetable allowing you to complete the course in your target length of time.
Studying via Distance Learning:
Studying via distance learning is a little different to studying at a college or university. In a traditional learning environment like a college, you’ll usually attend a class and then be set work to complete for the next session.
In distance learning, this happens the other way around – you’ll complete your studying and any exercises or activities first, and then contact your tutor to submit work, check your understanding, get help with any difficulties and get feedback and suggestions. Your tutor might also set you specific exercises or pieces of work to do, or may recommend further reading to help you better understand the topics you’re studying.
Studying this way means you can work at your own pace, moving faster through areas of the course that you’re confident with and taking extra time to focus on topics you find more challenging.
You can contact your tutor for help whenever you need to, but we require that you speak to your tutor over the telephone at least once every three weeks. This is not just to keep track of your progress on the course, but is also to keep the lines of communication open – we find that even for students who require very little tutor support, regular contact calls help them to feel more comfortable about contacting their tutor help when they do need it.
If you need help
The tutor support you receive with all of our courses is unlimited, so you can speak to your tutor once every three weeks, several times a day or anything in between. The tutor’s job is to get you through your course whatever it takes, so there’s no need to be shy!
Depending on your course, you might be assessed via exams, assignments, workplace projects or a mixture of these methods.
If part of your course is assessed via an examination, your tutor will tell you when they feel you are ready to sit the exam. Depending on the course you study your exam might be sat in your workplace (with HR staff or your manager invigilating), at an external exam centre like a local college, at a British Council if you’re studying from outside the UK, or at the offices of the Institute you’re studying with.
Your student liaison officer will help you to arrange your examinations when you’re ready to take them – they will be able to advise you on your nearest exam centre and will help you book your exam. Your tutor will help you to prepare for your examination, assist you with revision and offer you advice on exam technique in the run up to your examination.
The length of time it takes to receive your exam results will depend on the course you’re taking, but as soon as they’re received your student mentor or tutor will be in touch to let you know. If you’ve passed, great! You can move straight on to the next area of your course. If you fail, there’s no need to panic – your tutor will help you to discuss what went wrong, go back over the course material and help you to prepare to retake the exam when you’re ready.
If part of your course is assessed via an assignment or a project, this will be submitted via your tutor. Your tutor will be able to give you feedback on your work, and will give it back to you to make improvements if necessary before submitting it to the Institute for marking.
Keeping on Track:
Because distance learning is flexible and you study in your spare time, it’s important for you to be organised and keep up to date with your work to avoid falling behind. This can seem daunting at first, especially if you’re trying to fit your study around work, family or other commitments.
Our experience has shown that students who get into a study routine tend to be most successful – your tutor will help you to create a study timetable when you first start your course, and simple study techniques such as setting aside regular time to work in a quiet place free of distractions will help you to focus. If at any time you need advice or help with fitting your studies into your life, you can always contact your Student Mentor for advice and assistance.
If things go wrong:
If at any point during your course you run into difficulties, your tutor or student mentor will be there to help. We understand that sometimes life can get in the way of your studies, so if you experience personal problems or a change in circumstances during your course we’ll do our best to accommodate your needs wherever possible. Depending on the circumstances this could take the form of extra support, deadline extensions or even taking a break in your studies.
At Distance Learning College and Training we’re committed to giving you the very highest levels of support from enrolment right through to receiving your qualification. Our support package is one of the best in the industry, and ensures that you have all of the guidance you need to be successful in your chosen course. We aim to give the same or better levels of support as you’d expect from attending a traditional college to complete your qualification, with the added benefits of flexibility and convenience offered by distance learning.