Flexible learning and home study

Online courses

There are many different names for learning away from the classroom. You may have heard of distance learning, open learning, home study. Some of these are alternative names for the same thing but some are different learning methods in total.

Home Study

Studying from home is often known as online learning. You may get your course materials through the internet and email or sent through the post. A tutor will support you by phone, Skype, email or post. ‘Correspondence courses’ and ‘home study’ are different terms for distance learning.

Why study from home or online?

Home learning courses are a suitable, effective, affordable way to add to your CV, and even have some fun along the way!

  • your work or domestic schedule is irregular and you can’t study at the same time each week
  • You can set your own timetable and work at your own pace
  • Change career that requires a particular qualification
  • you didn’t like school and the whole ‘classroom experience’
  • Train to a higher level in order to get a promotion
  • the social aspect of working in a group isn’t important to you
  • you work overseas and want to get a UK qualification
  • No prior qualifications are needed for most courses making them accessible to everyone
  • Obtain qualifications relevant to further education at University

Will it suit me?

On most online learning and home study courses you’ll work at your own pace and fix your own deadlines. This can be a big advantage and suits a lot of people. But it also means you have to keep yourself motivated.

It will also help if you’re a confident learner who works well on your own. If you’re the type of person who likes the support of other learners you might find it’s not for you.

What can you study

You can study a huge range of courses such as Marketing, Business Management, MBA, MSc, MA, LLM and accounting; you can find all these and more listed in our course listing.

What else do I consider?

Some other hints and tips:

  • check if, and how much, you need to attend for tutorials, face-to-face tuition and exams
  • shop around to see if the course is available through other providers – you may get a better deal
  • add up all the possible costs – as well as the course fee you may have to pay for an enrolment fee, books, equipment, exam costs, internet time, travel and accommodation
  • Check for time restrictions – many courses is open-ended and you learn at your own pace, but some have time limits.

Can I get help paying for the course?

It can be difficult getting funding for open learning and home study if the course provider is a private organisation. Most statutory funding – such as Learner Discretionary Support and the Student Loan – is for students on attendance courses at government-funded course providers such as colleges and universities.

Some people pay for the courses themselves using savings or a bank loan. However, you should check out all funding options before you consider paying yourself. Here are some of the main options for funding open learning and home study:

  • your employer – if you can convince your employer that doing the course would not only benefit you but also the organisation, they may fund the course and give you time off to attend or study online
  • Professional and Career Development Loan – a repayable bank loan you can use to fund learning that enhances your job skills or career prospects
  • Local Educational Authority discretionary awards
  • JobCentre Plus – if you are unemployed
  • educational charities and trusts – they may give small awards based on your

All our course providers allow you to pay the fees in instalments. This spreads the cost over the year rather than paying one lump sum. They may charge a higher total fee for this to cover administrative costs.