Letter from the Director – Baby steps for Grown Up Ambitions

Three years is a long time.   Thirty six months or 156 weeks of commitment is a lot to ask of anyone, but that’s how much a UK Degree course typically asks of its students.  Things are even longer in institutions following the model of the United States, and Universities elsewhere, where no less than four years of study is required.  Four years of organising your life entirely around the whim of an institution that, all too frequently, demands total priority over your time table. 

This, of course, is only for those with the comparative luxury to put the rest of their life on hold to focus on their studies.  For those who choose to study part time the length of time it will take to achieve a degree will be far greater, on average doubling the time it takes to get the qualification.  Consequentially it’s no great surprise that many people decide, quite understandably, that they haven’t time for education.   

Time isn’t the only issue.  Cost is one part, with massive upfront fees being demanded for a place on a course.  And then there’s the matter of whether or not a potential student believes that the course is for them.  One hardly wishes to commit to a three year course of study only to realize six months in it isn’t for them.  That is why so many people quite understandably choose not to bother with further education.

The Hard But Necessary Part. 

Sadly, this is increasingly not an option in our modern world.  Globalization pits workers in Washington against those in Warsaw.  Labourers in London against those in Laos in direct competition.  Those without skills or training are increasingly finding it hard to make a decent living as marketplaces open globally.   In today's job market, you not only need to get skills, you need to maintain them and develop them throughout your career.

That’s why at the Academy for Distance Learning we’ve been pushing a far different approach to education.  Yes, you can purchase the entirety of your course upfront (and, my marketing department hastens to add, enjoy excellent savings!) but more importantly we are able to offer a flexible, pay as you go style of learning.  This has several benefits for the student:

Firstly it’s a chance to test the waters and to see if distance learning is for you.  By taking a single 100 study hour, module you can experience distance learning without committing to a full diploma.  Even if you struggled with traditional education back in your school days, you can still benefit by doing an online course.  You learn at your own pace, taking as long as you need to progress.  At the end of the course you can reflect on your experiences and decide whether or not you want to proceed.

If you do choose to proceed then you can continue to study, module by, module until you have earned enough credit through completing courses to qualify for an Advanced Certificate or even Diploma.  On the other hand, if you liked learning by distance but realized that gardening wasn’t really for you, you can change direction to study something else while having your completed course count towards your final qualification!

Flexibility is the key demand placed on today’s workforce, and that’s why educators like us at ADL have to meet the needs of the workplace.  Taking single modules may be only baby steps, but just as we took our first steps at the start or our lives to learn to walk, so we take the baby steps towards a lifelong commitment to self-improvement.

Until next time.

Daryl Tempest-Mogg

Director of Vocational Studies, ADL

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