Want to take your career up a level, or retrain for a new career or business? Read why distance learning is perfect for mums, and how to make it work.
Continuing professional development has long been respected as an important way to progress your career and keep your edge at work. And it can offer even more benefits for mums – you can refresh and grow your skills to ensure your career isn’t negatively impacted by a career break, and acquire new ones to help you launch a new career, go freelance or start a business.
But if you’re already struggling to balance your time between work, children and home – and the commitments they all come with – how do you fit in any kind of education? The answer could lie in distance learning.
The benefits of distance learning
Distance learning enables you to study and gain recognised qualifications, even if you aren’t able to attend a course in person. But what are the other benefits of choosing this type of teaching? Here are a few:
- Great choice of courses – thanks to amazing technological advancements in recent years, you’re spoilt for choice when it comes to distance learning courses today. You can pick a subject that you are particularly interested in, or opt for a career with substantial benefits, such as an ACCA accounting qualification.
- Lots of flexibility – as opposed to traditional, classroom-based teaching methods, distance learning gives you the flexibility to work whenever and wherever you want. You might be more productive bright and early in the morning, or find that last thing at night is your ideal work time. With some courses, you can also decide how long it takes – from a few months to several years.
- Networking opportunities – attending a course locally can be quite limiting from a networking point of view. But this couldn’t be further from the truth with distance learning; many courses encourage students and tutors to network and connect with each other, enabling you to make strong connections with a diverse range of students, teachers and professionals.
- Cost-effective – distance learning tends to cost a lot less than traditional courses, as overheads for the teaching institution are dramatically reduced. On top of that, you won’t have any travel expenses and could even avoid spending out for learning materials, as these are often provided for too.
How to get the most from distance learning
If you’re considering distance learning, what do you need to take into account to ensure it’s as rewarding and successful as possible? Here are some tips:
- Be realistic – even though a distance learning course could make your career dream a reality, it’s important not to get ahead of yourself. Studying can be tough at the best of times, and you’ll need to find the motivation to do this on your own. Success won’t come overnight, so be realistic with your expectations.
- Come up with a routine – the power of comprehensive planning, lots of organisation, and good old hard work should not be underestimated. So, come up with a plan of action which will include a regular study routine and a schedule of when you will write essays or take exams.
- Establish some objectives – your end-goal will obviously be to complete the course, but if you break this down into manageable steps, it will feel like you are always achieving something. This is great for maintaining motivation levels and will enable you to enjoy the experience that bit more.
- Find time to work – it’s important that you identify (and protect) clear chums of time in your work to devote to your studies, especially if they’ll be competing with the distractions of a family. It may not be easy, but with a good strategy and determination it can be done. (You can read tips on how to make time to study from home here.)
Start learning and open up new opportunities!
It’s never too late to create exciting new opportunities in life – and distance learning is a brilliant (and achievable) way to do this as a mum.
So if you’ve always aspired to a certain career or would like to pursue an alternative line of work, consider the benefits that a distance-learning course can afford.
Sean Simon enrolled in a distance learning course when he found that he couldn’t balance a full time accountancy course at his local college and work regular office hours in his day job at the same time.Hannah Martin