An Introduction to non-Traditional Education

For some highly-academic learners in England and Wales, the path through education is simple and traditional. Students aim to earn at least five GCSEs when they are 16 years old. At 18 years old they can choose to earn three A-Levels grade A-E, and then they can choose to go on to university where they can earn bachelor degrees (grade 1st class – 3rd class) or diplomas (distinction-pass) at age 21-23.

table showing the levels of GCSE through to PhD

However, for most learners, the path through education is not so traditional. Education is not compulsory after 16 years old (18 in England), and traditional UK universities and colleges keep raising their entry requirements and price tags, which means that getting a degree or diploma is not feasible for many 18-year-olds. Many learners return to education after years away to get A-levels, diplomas or degrees. Even before age 16, many students are not able to pass their examinations due to lack of interest, poor teaching quality or personal factors. In 2015 around half of the GCSE students (46.2%) failed to achieve five GCSEs including English and Maths at grade A*-C (Stubbs 2016).

Most learners will take the non-traditional path through education. For these students, online study is attractive for its reduced prices, student-centred learning and less stressful approach to learning:

Some learners find they have an interest in a subject and want to study it formally.

Online learners can sign up to study courses from Animal Breeding to Biopsychology in their own time, without needing to go into stressful physical classrooms, by signing up online.

Some learners want to get qualifications in their spare time while working full-time, raising children, recovering from illness or caring for family members.

Online learners can study courses like Child Psychology and Dramatic Writing at their own pace, take time off whenever they want, and study however many hours they would like to each week.

Some learners want to gain qualifications to qualify them for jobs or further study. 

Online learners can study subjects like Horticulture and Medical Science to achieve accredited certificates, diplomas and higher advanced diplomas, as well as gain references for jobs.

Some learners study to prepare them for new roles and enhance their skills.

Online learners can quickly learn the fundamentals of subjects like Bed & Breakfast Management. University students struggling with the transition to degree level can take a quick “University Preparation Writing Package”.

Are you a non-traditional learner? Would online learning help you? If so, ADL can help. We offer 24/7 online learning environment where you can study at your own pace, and unlimited free support in business hours. Come and check our courses!




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By submitting this form, I provide my consent to ADL to contact me via email or telephone, regarding the course I selected. All information provided is protected in conformity with our Privacy Policy.