Distance Learning: What You Should Know

Distance learning is the education of those who are not always physically present at an educational location, for whatever reason. It is a very useful way to learn and develop your skills from a location that works for you, at your own pace. There are many reasons why you may choose a distance learning course, and they all have unique challenges and benefits that can make you a stronger learner, as well as building your skills, qualifications, and experience. Whether you are looking to study a full-time course online or are keen to explore your interests and hobbies, there are plenty of distance learning opportunities to choose from.

Who is it for?

Distance learning is for those who are unable to physically attend a school, college or university, or any educational institution but still wish to receive education and partake in learning. Anyone can be a distance learning student, and there are many types of courses to choose from, with different commitment levels, lengths, costs, and qualification levels being just a few of the options to tailor your experience. Some courses can be completed in your own time, providing a flexible learning experience that you can fit around your life. Self-paced learning means that you are able to take your time and pick up where you left off whenever it suits you. Other distance learning courses, such as a master’s entry program in nursing (for non-RNS) require full commitment and combines online learning with practical placement and clinical hours. You may not think nursing can be studied online as it is such a hands-on role, but these types of courses give you the valuable opportunity to put your new skills into practice in a workplace environment too. You may decide to take part in a distance learning course or degree for various reasons, such as building your CV, changing your career, gaining qualifications, or purely personal enjoyment.

What are the courses?

When it comes to course choice, the ability to use the internet to find your perfect course is incredibly useful. You are not confined to what is offered locally and can even access courses and educational materials that you would not have the chance to if you attended physically. There are many factors to consider, such as the commitment you are able to offer, your schedule, your budget, and your location, as well as the reason you are looking to study in the first place. There are also different ways in which courses can be taught, such as live seminars or pre-recorded video content. Depending on the kind of learner you are, it is helpful to think about the way in which different courses are delivered.

What are the benefits?

Distance and blended learning have numerous benefits that make them a popular teaching and learning method for many people. They are incredibly flexible, and several courses are designed to be completed alongside your existing commitments, such as your job or family life. If you are unable to attend physical classes for any reason, then looking at distance learning options is a great idea. The benefits of distance learning include:


Distance learning courses can help reduce or remove some of the costs associated with being a student. These costs include travel, rent, resources, food, and living costs, and the financial side of studying can put a lot of people off. When you are learning from home, you will not have to worry as much about commuting to classes or renting campus accommodation. Furthermore, tuition fees for online courses may be cheaper than their in-person courses, and if your course allows you the time to continue working while you study, you can continue earning money.


The ability to learn from a location of your choice is another benefit of online learning, as it can give you access to a larger number of courses, as well as helping you create a productive learning environment. Your local institution may not offer the courses or subjects that you want to study, which can cause a delay in your plans. With distance learning, your physical location is less of a barrier, allowing you to study at institutions you may not be able to attend in person. Furthermore, studying at home gives you the opportunity to build a learning environment that fits your unique requirements. This can lead you to enjoy the courses more and absorbing information better.


When you take a distance learning course, the technical skills you learn may be your main reason behind studying the course. You will also have the chance to develop your personal skills, regardless of the subject or course content. These skills are called soft skills, and they are a set of personal, transferrable skills that help you excel in the workplace, look good on your resume, and employers also look out for them. Soft skills include:

  • Communication
  • Conflict resolution
  • Self-motivation
  • Problem-solving
  • Organization
  • Time management

When you complete distance learning courses, you will have practical examples of times when you have used the skills you have listed on your resume, and these can be given to potential employers in an interview. For example, you will need to use your organizational and time management skills to make sure that you complete your course and your other commitments to high levels. Scheduling and prioritizing are incredibly valuable skills in any industry or workplace, and distance learning can help you develop habits that you can take forward and use again and again.

Distance learning is a brilliant way to develop both your personal and professional skills, explore new interests and hobbies, and add to your resume. There are plenty of course types to choose from, and it can give you the chance to really tailor your learning experience to suit your needs and requirements. You will learn technical and non-technical skills that will be useful in many situations and have the chance to deepen your education and receive higher levels of teaching. All of which will benefit your career in the long run.