Today, it?s more popular than ever before, especially in the UK. Over 200,000 students are currently taking courses at the Open University alone, for instance; and there are many other organisations offering distance learning opportunities.
So what?s behind this growing popularity? For one thing, distance learning tends to be cheaper than conventional learning ? considerably so in some cases.
That?s hardly surprising. Compare taking a degree at a conventional university to gaining the same qualification through home study. The former will typically require you to live three years on campus, and the cost has to include accommodation, food, study materials and the wages of the university staff. Home learning avoids these expenses.
The sheer flexibility of home study is another big plus. With home learning, you work at your own pace and in the times that suit you best. You could even study in the middle of the night if that matched your lifestyle!
Because home learning is modular, you can progress at your own speed. This is ideal if you have other commitments in your life, as many of us do ? whether it be a job or caring for a family. This flexibility also means that, in particularly busy or hectic times, you can slow down your home study programme for a while.
Some studies have reported that people who do home learning get better results than those who attend an educational establishment. Certainly some people thrive in this atmosphere. One reason for this would be that you study in the comfort of your own home, in familiar surroundings. Some people may also feel more committed to home learning.
Distance learning today means exactly that; distance is no object. As long as your course provider is connected to the internet, you can literally study its programmes anywhere in the world. For instance, 20,000 of those Open University students live outside the UK.
Another reason for the popularity of home learning is that you?re not alone. A good course provider will assign qualified tutors to you, who will be on hand to answer questions as well as to regularly assess your progress. Some programmes also encourage you to meet up with other home learning students, and create opportunities for you to do so.
Home learning does require discipline on your part ? more so than conventional learning. You need to commit to regular home study, and you should set yourself a goal to get the qualification or certification you want in a set number of months or years. Working from home can be more relaxing ? and more distracting ? than working in a conventional study environment, and you need to be able to rise above those things.
Providing you can discipline yourself, however, distance learning through home study can tick many boxes, making it a lot easier to get skills or improve on existing ones than would otherwise be possible. Why not give it a go?