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ADL Blog | Real Learning Stories

Academy for Distance Learning Blog - Our Blog is a resource for people looking for courses and information about our courses, education news, real learning stories, student sucess, discussion and anything of interest we can muster up!  

We'll be keeping this page updated with news, course information and real life student sucess stories.

We asked Horticulture tutor Steven Whitaker some questions about himself. See his answers below!


What do you like to do in your spare time?
We bought a derelict cottage a few years back so we’ve been gradually renovating it.  The priority was the interior as it needed a new roof and chimney, not to mention virtually everything replacing on the inside too.  The garden has had to be put on hold so that is my priority for the coming season, it’s basically a field with a few fruit trees at the moment, so I’ll be landscaping it from scratch.  Our neighbours thought it would be a good idea to cut down all of the trees surrounding the...

Dr Lee Raye, the writing tutor here at ADL, has been studying on our RHS Level 2 certificate course this year. We had a chat with them about how they are doing with the modules, whether the course is easy to understand and (gulp) how the exams work.


How easy is the material to understand and read?
Generally, the lessons are really well written so it’s easy enough to understand them. However, for some of the lessons, there is so much knowledge to take in that at the end of each lesson it all tends to be swimming around in my head a bit. I find the activities really useful to counter that, and I’m glad the tutor support is in...

I was recently reunited with a biological specimen which I had picked up on my Falkland adventures. It was a cervical vertebral unit of a Pilot Whale, or its neck bones. As I was out walking on the beach I saw a great many bones, mostly individual vertebrae of penguins, dolphins and whales. When I first saw the unit I thought it was a pelvis, but on closer examination, realised it was fused bones from the neck of a pilot whale. Even for an isolated beach in the Falklands, it appears to have been a unique find, and I have since discovered there has been little specific study of such bones in the Pilot Whale.


The cervical spine of...

After a recent dawn train ride from Crewe to Manchester through the fororn winter farmland of Cheshire, I was reminded of a feature of the land here referred to as marl pools. On my journey, I could see many such pools dotted about in the landscape, making an obstinate pain for farmers, reducing the productivity of their fields, but providing ample opportunity for wildlife to eek out a living and improve the biodiversity and attraction of an otherwise intensively managed mixed agricultural lowland. Cheshire has more ponds than any other county, on acount of its geology, flat aspect, and agricultural history.

The Marl ponds of the...

Understanding children is a very important aspect of being involved as a provider of children’s services, and most importantly, as parents. Child psychologists are keen to discover the causes of certain patterns of behaviour in children. They are interested, for instance, in how anxiety can affect the child’s development and happiness. It is difficult to identify a single cause for anxiety. Usually behaviour is far more complex, having been influenced by a blend of prior experiences. Every child’s situation is unique and there is no one ideal environment that results in healthy emotional development. 

Children become healthy,...

In TV dramas, we often watch scenes in which a troubled person is being counselled. Often, the counsellor is seen as a person who makes in-depth observations of the client, who tells the individual what to do and why. The counsellor is seen by viewers as being wise, outwitting the client and ourselves with superior judgement and perception. However, this is not counselling as such. It is advice-giving.


The reasons trained counsellors do not give advice are many. They include the following:


  • Rather than the client being empowered to work through the problems experienced, he or she is advised what to do. This means that...

Many of you will know me as your tutor for many courses with ADL and some of you will be wondering where I have got to recently. I took a sabbatical from my tutoring because I have travelled to Ecuador – not on a holiday but to volunteer as a teacher in the University in Quito. I am also hoping to see more of this amazing country and the plants here – it is truly a botanic dream.

So far, I have been based in Quito, the capital. Quito is noisy, very polluted, very high (the 2nd highest capital city in the world) and never seems to sleep. They do have a quiet period – from about 1am until 1.15am when it starts up again. Sounds of Quito...

Roses are a group of popular shrubs, climbers, and groundcover plants. Because of their variation in growth forms they can be grown as groundcover, in borders, containers, or over arches. They are relatively easy to grow and offer a wide range of colours and scents in the garden.  The word rosa comes from the Greek word rodon (red), and the rose of the ancients was of a deep crimson colour, which is why it was thought to spring from the blood of Adonis.

Three types of rose perfume are recognized; (i) those of the Cabbage Rose; (ii) the Damask Rose (iii) the Tea Rose, but there are many roses of intermediate character as regards perfume,...


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Disclaimer: Every attempt is made to ensure all information from the academy is accurate and that the student has attained the competencies taught in a course, at the point of their assessment. Beyond this point, the graduate is responsible to maintain their acquired competencies, and apply acquired knowledge and skills in a way which is appropriate to the unique characteristics of each application. This will release the academy from any liability, action and claims of whatsoever nature in connection with, or arising from any such information, instruction or advice, given by any student or ex-student, whether directions given during the course are followed or not.