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4 signs online learning is right for you

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Earning an online degree is a positive experience for most students. While online learning doesn’t suit everyone’s learning style, the vast majority of today’s students thrive in an online environment. So how do you know if an online degree is right for you? Here are four sure-fire signs that online learning could be the right path for you.

  1. You need flexibility

Online learning is an ideal choice if you want to study but you need to juggle multiple priorities. You want to work studying around your schedule and need a course that is flexible enough to supplement your life outside the classroom. Many online learners enrol on distance learning courses so they can balance their education with family responsibilities and work commitments.

  1. You are proactive

Online students must be proactive learners who are motivated to study on their own initiative without needing direction. Online courses promote autonomous learning, which means there is less direct guidance. Online learners are required to take a proactive approach to their studies; they seek out information and research around their topic. If you’re a self-starter with a strong desire to learn, an online degree could suit your learning style.

  1. You are self-disciplined

Online courses require more self-discipline and independence than on-campus courses. There is a lot of freedom and flexibility with online learning, which requires you to stay focused and manage your time effectively. You set your own study schedule and learn at your own pace, which puts you in control of your own learning process. Those who are self-disciplined, motivated and organised get the most from online learning.

  1. You have strong reading and writing skills

Strong reading and writing skills are critical to success in an online course as nearly all communication is written. Most of the material in the online environment comes from text-based tools such as virtual lectures, eBooks and discussion forums. Unlike campus education, online courses generally rely on written work for assessment purposes. If you’re comfortable expressing yourself in writing, then online learning is a good match for you.

 

Six tips to increase your studying productivity

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We’ve all had those days where there is nothing in the world that will get us motivated to do the work that we need to be doing. You sit in front of your desk with your laptop, your books, pens and highlighters and find yourself staring at the wall hoping that somehow the material will be absorbed into your head. You just can’t seem to get in the zone so you waste your study time inefficiently. Forcing yourself to be productive is tough so we have put together a list of six ways to help you get the most out of your study sessions.

  1. Follow a study schedule

A study schedule can reduce stress by allowing you to set aside the necessary amount of time for studying. Buy a planner and plan a week’s worth of studying at a time. Allow around 8 hours a day for studying but keep study times consistent each day – routine is important! You’ll know when you’re at your most productive, so be sure to factor this into your plan.

  1. Take study breaks

Incorporate regular study breaks into your study schedule. They offer a good incentive while studying but they also help you to study more effectively. Spend 10-15 minutes away from your desk and do something you enjoy, whether that involves taking a walk or just making a hot drink and resting on the sofa. You need to give your brain time to refresh so you can return to your work focused and ready to get the best results from studying.

  1. Create an ideal study space

It is essential to have a dedicated space for the sole purpose of studying, so when you enter that place your brain knows to focus on studying. If you study on the sofa, your mind will wander as this is traditionally a place where you relax. Study in a space that is private and free from distractions. Make sure your study area is comfortable; set up your desk and chair in a way that won’t hurt your neck or back. If you are comfortable, you’ll be more productive.

  1. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is a student’s worst enemy, it whiles away valuable time and eats away at your productivity. The only way to study effectively is to eliminate all the distractions and work with restrictions. Turn off your mobile phone and block websites and work without interruption – you’ll be surprised just how productive you can be!

  1. Feed your brain

Eating well is good for your mental health, your brain needs nutrients to help it perform optimally. Avoid junk foods as they can increase fatigue and impair your ability to focus. Fuel your brain with foods such as fish, fruit, vegetables and nuts to remain mentally alert.

  1. Drink plenty of water

A new study found that water improves mental performance as it helps the brain to work faster. Experts have warned that failing to stay hydrated can make your brain shrink, making it harder to think and absorb information. Make sure you drink plenty of water as it will help your brain cells to function properly and therefore keep you energised and productive.

 

 

Five career benefits of a degree in IT and Computing

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The number of undergraduate degrees awarded to IT and Computing students increased by nearly 20% from 2015 to 2016. This level of growth has been seen year on year for the past five years, naturally tying in with the increased use of technology in the work environment. As continued growth is expected, employers are aware of the importance of having IT graduates to drive their businesses forward. So why should you consider an IT and Computing degree?

  1. Multiple career pathways

The IT and Computing industry is well known for its wide range of job opportunities. The five common technology disciplines for IT and Computing graduates are:

  • website design
  • software development
  • programming
  • systems analysis
  • database administration

Graduates aren’t limited to these career paths, they can also specialise in far wider areas of interest. Computer technology affects everything. Fancy a career in business, finance, or the media? A degree in IT and Computing could lead to any one of these jobs!

  1. Growth in job roles

Technology is fast-moving and demand for IT professionals is surging because almost every economic sector needs their skills. There is a skills shortage across the IT sector, because the job opportunities are growing quicker than people can fill them. Companies simply need more talent, which means that IT graduates are being sought more than ever before.

  1. High-end salaries

IT graduates are entering the workforce with high starting salaries, even at entry-level. The growth of the digital economy and the increasing dominance of technology skills has meant that IT graduates are more valuable than ever to employers. Find out here what typical earnings are like in the IT sector.

  1. Job satisfaction

The average person spends 90,000 hours at work over their lifetime, so it’s important to be in a job you love. Research revealed that job satisfaction in the IT industry is almost double the UK average. The majority of those see IT as a long-term career choice, with 67% of respondents expecting to be working in the sector in 10 years.

  1. Transferable skills

Skills acquired from an IT and Computing degree are not limited strictly to the IT sector. Students will learn about leadership, problem-solving, critical thinking and communication; these are skills which will be of interest to potential employers, who will want to know that you can work well within their organisation.

Your pathway to a career in IT

If you have the desire to turn your passion for computers into a career, our online Level 4/5 IT and Computing Diploma course is an ideal choice for you. Whilst studying this course students will develop their skills in programming, systems analysis and design, and software development. Upon successful completion of the course, students can pursue a career in IT within the public or private sector.

Five reasons why you should take an ESOL course

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Current estimates suggest that 1.75 billion people around the world speak English, whether as their native tongue or as a foreign language. English is now spoken by a quarter of the world’s population – one in every four people. This number will continue to grow; the British Council forecasts that two billion people will be using or learning to use English by 2020. As the language has achieved such a global presence, there are hundreds of reasons to learn English.

ESOL refers to the provision of English for Speakers of Other Languages. Our online ESOL english course is designed for those who are looking to improve their use of and understanding of the English language. The course will enable learners to develop their speaking, listening, reading and writing skills as well as knowledge of English grammar and vocabulary. Learners will gain a nationally recognised qualification which will help them progress towards employment or further study.

Here are five good reasons to take an ESOL course.

  1. More job opportunities

English has become the language of international business, which means that the ability to speak English can open a wide range of new opportunities in your career. In an increasingly competitive job market, speaking English gives you an invaluable edge. If a company has an international reach, the ability to speak English is desirable. In a LinkedIn survey, 90% of HR Directors and CEOs responded that having English-speaking employees is beneficial to their businesses.

  1. You could potentially earn more

Those who have a fluent grip over the English language have a better chance of being able to increase their salary. According to research from the US, those who speak English as a second language can command a wage increase of up to 30%, while those who have mastered it can earn 67% more.

  1. Access to knowledge

English is the language of science, aviation, computers, diplomacy, and tourism. If you learn English, you’ll be able to tap into the world’s intellectual resources and educate yourself further. English is also the language of the Internet; it has been estimated that around 55% of the world’s webpages are written in English. Learning English will give you access to a much wider choice of content.

  1. Access to higher education

English is widely regarded as the language of higher education; many universities now use English as a medium of instruction. If you want to study at an English-speaking institution, you’ll need to take an English test during the admissions process to prove that your level of English is appropriate for the demands of the academic environment.

  1. Easy travel

English is predominately the language used for international travel – although it may not be the language that is most commonly spoken in a particular country, chances are that English will be used as the basis for communication between speakers of different native languages. English is an important and useful language to know when you travel as instructions and safety instructions are commonly provided in English at airports, train stations, hotels and restaurants.

5 effortless ways to manage study-related stress

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Whether you’re attending full-time university or pursuing an online course, studying can be stressful for even the most relaxed students. If you’re feeling worried or overwhelmed, you’re not alone.

We have compiled the following list of stress-relievers to help you concentrate on your learning goals.

Eat well

During times of stress, it is tempting to turn to “comfort” foods such as fast food and ready-made meals. Ironically, these food choices create more stress in the long run as they are high in fat and sugar which can make you feel lethargic and less able to deal with stress. A healthy and varied diet will give you the nutrients you need to boost your immune system and thereby boost your brain power. You should aim to eat high-fibre, carbohydrate-rich foods and plenty of fruit and vegetables which can help with stress. Remember: healthy minds lead to healthy bodies!

Sleep enough

A good night’s sleep can help reduce the effects of stress. Sleep deprivation affects how you think and can therefore impair your ability to judge situations. Sleeping is important because it recharges the body and enhances memory retention which boosts productivity. Ensure you get at least eight hours of sleep a day and follow a regular wake and sleep schedule, even at the weekend.

Exercise

Physical exercise is also one of the most effective ways to improve your mental health and it can reduce stress. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins which make you feel good. Regular exercise can help you to relax and lower the symptoms associated with anxiety and stress. Aim to do at least an hour’s exercise a week; try daily walks or even yoga. Remember: if your body feels better, so does your mind.

Study breaks

Regular breaks improve both focus and attention. Humans have a shorter attention span than a goldfish; our brains cannot focus for eight hours at time. Switching your mind to something different can help you recharge energy and regain concentration. Taking a break should not mean checking Facebook or Twitter as this can make you feel more tired than you are. Choose an activity away from your desk and your screen so that you come back refreshed and refocused; spend time walking outdoors or listen to music to clear and calm your mind. Ensure you take a 15-minute break every 90 minutes to avoid burnout.

Laughter is the best medicine

When it comes to relieving stress, laughter is just what the doctor ordered. A good, hearty session of laughter has been proven to reduce some of the physical symptoms of stress. Laughter stimulates circulation and encourages your muscles to relax so much that the benefits can be felt for the rest of the day. Find what makes you laugh and include it in your daily routine. Meet with friends, watch a live comedy show, or even try laughter yoga.

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