With the increase in cost of attending university, more students are now considering alternative routes of education. In fact, the amount of students that are enrolling on a UK distance learning course has risen considerably due to being perceived as a more cost-effective route of higher education. Whilst in comparison to conventional education, the execution of the course differs, a distance learning course is often a more enriching and rewarding experience for the student and therefore continues to appeal to students.
UK distance learning provides students with the opportunity to tailor their education in accordance to their needs and is therefore more malleable than a traditional degree. As the job market continues to become more competitive, students are having to do more to secure positions. A degree itself is no longer enough and therefore the experience and skills that come with a distance learning course are perceived as invaluable. This route of learning also allows students to have the freedom to simultaneously work and study without either commitments being affected. This can often be difficult with traditional education where making the commitment to attend classes can require a large amount of time, therefore hindering time and progression in a job role. Therefore, a distance learning course will not only allow time for both but will positively impact future career prospects by ensuring that you have the relevant experience and are more prepared for any job role.
Distance learning courses also make it possible for working professionals to improve their career by providing them with the resources to enhance their knowledge. They are able to study without having to give up their job or it hindering their work performance. This can be helpful in cases where someone may be looking to seek a promotion and therefore must develop their knowledge whilst still being able to excel in their current job role. It provides people with the capacity to broaden their understanding which will inevitably have a positive impact on the organisation. Enrolling for a course also demonstrates to an employer that an employee is committed to self-development which is a highly desirable for any organisation. With the constant shift in industries, it is important for employees to remain up-to-date, therefore UK distance learning can help with ensuring that they aware of changes and developments within their field.
A UK distance learning course is also helpful for people that have other commitments such as having children or being a carer for someone. It allows them to continue and pursue higher education without having to choose between the two. This not only makes education accessible to people that may not have had the opportunity to pursue it otherwise, but can broaden the appeal of education as a whole by making it seem more attainable.
Whilst some students may worry that distance learning lacks the social aspect that comes with a university experience, technology has made it possible to emulate this and with the introduction of things such as online forums, it is now possible to remain more connected than ever. Students are still able to benefit from things such as feedback from tutors or seeking advice. Distance learning has quickly evolved and is now providing students with a more enriching way of learning whilst ensuring that they are still able to have access to the more social aspects. With the availability of countless online communities and resources, students have the opportunity to ask questions and support one another in the same way that they would in a classroom.
Whilst traditional education has always taken precedence, job roles are now becoming more demanding and therefore distance learning has bridged the gap and catered to this need. Students now require more than just an education and need the flexibility to work and learn at the same time, therefore distance learning will continue to develop and increase in popularity due to allowing time and space to commit to both.
With students having to apply for university at a young age, it is often difficult for them to have a clear idea of their chosen career path. Therefore, a lot of students complete their degrees and then go on to work in an entirely different field. Whilst having a degree demonstrates commitment and being able to work independently, the change of industry can often be daunting and without the in-depth understanding of the industry, it can be difficult to adjust. Therefore students often pursue an online education in order to learn and develop the knowledge and skills required in that particular industry whilst still being able to work. They are able to learn and immediately apply their knowledge to their job role. However, there are some things that should be considered before pursuing an online education and the way that it is used to help with your career goals.
- Time management is integral
You need to be able to strike a balance between your work and education. Whilst the education will help to improve your work performance by providing you with insight and skills that can be used in your everyday role, studying and working at the same time can be demanding. Online education still requires you to allocate time for studying and it is important to be able to devise a study plan and stick to this. Time management is crucial to navigate between the two areas and you should be able to divide time between them.
- Be self-disciplined
Without the physical presence of a tutor or your peers, it can be easy to fall behind. For example, if one day you return from work and decide that you are too tired to study that night, you have to possess the willingness to be able to make up that time another day. You have to be disciplined and be able to adhere to a schedule and submit your work on time. It can be easy to miss a few days and then struggle to get back into studying. Therefore, you must be determined and self-disciplined enough to ensure that neither your work nor education will suffer. Whilst flexibility is an appealing factor of online education, it still requires you to be able to submit work on time and remain on top of the curriculum.
- Apply learning to your role
The content that you learn are things that you will be able to immediately apply to your job role, and will also help you to develop a deeper and broader understanding. Therefore when learning, it can make the process easier by seeing how this can be used or applied to your workplace. You may find that you also have a better understanding of the hierarchical system and the roles of colleagues which not only help to provide you with more purpose in your job role but will allow you to be able to look at the bigger picture.
- Collaborating virtually
With many roles requiring communication and interaction with clients from all over the world, online learning can teach you to be able to collaborate virtually. This is something that can immediately benefit you in the workplace because you will find that you are able to communicate better and therefore improve your work relationships with colleagues and clients. Online education involves having to collaborate and communicate with tutors online and therefore you will learn to be able to express yourself and your thoughts better online, whilst also being able to acquire the necessary information from others. Online learning teaches you to virtually work together with others and is a skill that can help you in any industry. It also provides you with the opportunity to network with global professionals.
There are now countless courses and certifications available, making it possible for you to move between careers and develop a better understanding of other industries. Online education has been revolutionary for career progression and ensures that it is possible to continue developing skills and knowledge without hindering work performance. It can also be used to aid your career goals and therefore should be something to consider when looking to improve in a current job role or move to another field entirely.
The continual development and progression of the internet has had an immense impact on society and the way that we do things. From our consumption of information to our communication with each other, technology and the internet have altered the way that we exist. Therefore, having become an integral part of our survival, technology is now widely accepted in more areas such as education. With the new generation having become accustomed to using technology from a younger age, their way of understanding and digesting information has changed. For example, it has altered the attention span of students due to having more access to shorter videos and concise articles. Therefore, traditional education can appear to be challenging due to being presented as deviating from their accepted norm. The idea of having to sit in a classroom and listen to a teacher may not appeal to everyone and is therefore leading to more students pursuing online education.
When students are already familiar with using social media and consuming information online, distance learning is naturally the next step. Therefore, more institutions are beginning to incorporate and embrace social media within their teaching and learning processes. Instead of having to sit and read through a wealth of text, students are able to learn through videos and other mediums. They have the flexibility to learn from within their own space which not only caters to different learning styles but ensures that they are learning in a way that suits and is familiar to them.
Social media and the internet also make it possible for students to feel more included in a community whilst still having access to resources and guidance. Social media is often the quickest way to contact people or have questions answered, therefore making information accessible, regardless of location. For example, news of current affairs can quickly spread across social media before television stations have had the chance to cover it. Social media is instant and allows communication in real-time, almost emulating our daily interactions with people. Therefore, its use in education can only be perceived as a means of aiding learning and creating a shared experience for the student. Tutors are able to share content and relevant material with students in real-time and interactions are not as limited as when in a classroom setting.
It also allows students to ask more questions and clarify their own understanding which is something that is often challenging in a classroom when there is no time to contemplate the things that they have been taught. Social media even improves communication between tutors and students because neither party has to sit down to compose an email. Social media is accessible on phones and tablets, making it easier to respond to one another and thus improving the overall interaction between student and teacher. This ensures that students are able to develop a better understanding of content but that they are still using their initiative and becoming more critical through their questioning.
The presence and availability of online communities can also help to provide support for students which is integral for ensuring that they feel encouraged and motivated. Without the physical presence of peers, it is easy for students to fall behind or struggle with a lack of enthusiasm. Social media makes it possible for students to have a support network and maintain interaction with others.
As the face of education continues to change, institutions are having to find ways to continue to develop their curriculum in a way to appeal to the new generation of students. Although some are hesitant to deviate from the practices of traditional education, it is important to prioritise the student’s needs and therefore ensure that they are taught in a way that will maximise their own potential and learning. Whilst more social media platforms continue to be introduced, the internet is thriving and should therefore be used as a tool to aid the educational process. It has already proven itself as an invaluable medium and pool of information.
Although technology and the internet have become a fundamental facet of a functioning society, there are still improvements that need to be made in order to ensure growth in online learning. Whilst more institutions are beginning to accept and incorporate technology into the teaching processes, many still have concerns about its implementation. Below are some things that should be resolved or improved in order to ensure the continual expansion and success of online learning:
Privacy and security concerns
As students enter and share more of their information across the internet, the collection of this data is something that can easily be violated and therefore both security and privacy measures need to be improved. With more companies facing security breaches, it not only contributes to the destruction of their credibility but also makes it difficult to regain trust. Therefore, security and privacy should be prioritised and improved to ensure prevention of this. As technology becomes available in more forms such as in watches, it is easier than ever to gain access to sensitive and confidential information. Therefore it is important for institutions to ensure that they have policies and procedures in place to ensure that information is always protected. Vulnerabilities need to be assessed to ensure that data and security is not breached because it is ultimately their responsibility to ensure that information is secure. The privacy of student data is fundamental and must be prioritised.
Better coverage of Wi-Fi
With more devices connected to the internet than ever before, it is important for organisations to ensure that Wi-Fi is made available in all locations. For example, in library basements or reception areas of buildings. Students always want to be connected and with the amount of devices that are now available, institutions have the responsibility of ensuring that the density of their connection is continually improved. University campuses are quickly recognising that they need to supply an internet connection, however it can be frustrating for students to lose their connection when moving to a separate building or walk across campus. Therefore, it is important for institutions to improve this and cater to the needs of the student. In terms of online learning, students will still have access to libraries and public spaces therefore a strong Wi-Fi connection is essential.
Whilst staff may be familiar with things such as virus-detection software, it is crucial for institutions to provide training on safety and security measures in order to ensure the smooth operation of online learning. Staff need to be able to understand how quickly security is able to be breached in order to aid its prevention. Although institutions already have measures in place to ensure that data is secure, this is often not something that is explained to staff or teachers. Therefore, whilst they may possess a basic understanding of the importance of data security, teachers need to be aware of the consequences of a security breach and its overall impact on the reputation of the organisation.
More institutions also need to have measures in place to tackle things such as cyber-bullying by providing sessions for tutors on recognising signs and preventing it from occurring. Whilst traditional education ensures that teachers are able to pick-up on things such as bullying, it is not something that they can often translate online and institutions should therefore provide training. The needs of the students should be prioritised and staff need to be made more aware of issues and problems that they may be facing.
Whilst online education is heavily reliant on written communication, if a student is hesitant to declare that they are struggling, teachers should be able to recognise signs and provide support accordingly. Although online education continues to thrive, these are areas which must be improved in order to ensure that this method of learning continues to provide students with the same outcome and opportunities as regular education. With more data being collected and shared, and the access to the internet quicker than ever, institutions must take measures to ensure that students are always protected.
Working professionals are always seeking to self-develop and often end up pursuing an MBA programme in order to invest in their future. An MBA programme can provide working professionals with the knowledge and skills to progress to a more senior role whilst also increasing their level of qualifications. It can help in all areas such as strategic thinking and being a better leader. Therefore, MBA programmes are often recommended to people that may be seeking career progression.
MBA programmes themselves have developed through shifting their focus in order to help students maximise their experience and ensure better career prospects. Whilst industries continue to change and evolve, it is important for both institutions and businesses to remain aware and up-to-date with these changes whilst ensuring that their curriculum and services are always relevant to the needs of students. Therefore, when making the decision to pursue an MBA in business, there are some factors that should be considered.
Learning while working
Many working professionals will be pursuing an MBA in business whilst still maintaining their existing job and it is important to ensure that your chosen programme will allow for this. Some students may find it difficult to balance work and studying, however an MBA programme not only allows you to increase your skillset but ensures that it does not in any way hinder your career. Whilst still a commitment, an MBA is something that you will be able to use and implement in your existing role and you may find that the two overlap, making both easier to balance.
A student-driven approach
Institutions should prioritise and focus on a student’s needs whilst developing a curriculum and you should therefore identify whether their approach is something that will benefit you. For example, more student-centred learning will focus on providing you with experiences to ensure that you are gaining more than theoretical knowledge. Content is also taught through different approaches whilst taking your needs and aspirations into account. A programme should be tailored to helping you acquire the most out of your studying, ensuring that your goals are a priority.
Whilst an MBA was used as a tool for career progression, it is now often perceived as a means of being able to thrive independently. For example, individuals that are interested in and hope to pursue entrepreneurship are able to benefit from an MBA because an institution will not only encourage and help to promote innovative ideas but will help students to become more critical thinkers. They are able to provide individuals with the fundamental foundations of what it takes to succeed, with professionals then being able to go on to implement these.
It is crucial to consider the outcome of an MBA in business and whether it will help you to progress in your career. For example, through asking questions such as whether the programme can help for you to build contacts within the industry or provide you with the expertise that you can then go on to apply in the workplace. Before dedicating time, it is important to evaluate the MBA as a whole and whether or not it is worthwhile. Think about what it will bring you and whether it lines up with your future career goals.
Whilst theoretical knowledge is able to deepen your knowledge and provide you with a better understanding of things, it is the soft skills that will help you to succeed. As more and more students are graduating with degrees, they often lack the real-life skills to be able to implement their knowledge into a job role. Therefore, things such as time management and having a positive attitude are sometimes lacking in candidates because it is not something that they were able to pick up whilst studying. MBA programmes therefore ensure that they focus on the development of these various skills because they are the means to becoming a more effective and successful working professional. Programmes should provide you with more than just knowledge, you need to be able to acquire the skills and experience that you can go on to apply in your future job roles.
Whilst an MBA can act as an additional qualification, it is still crucial to consider whether or not it will help you progress in your personal career. It is also important to choose the right institution for you to ensure that you are able to get the most out of both your time and education.