Brought to you by Open Colleges

The A to Z of online learning

by Yvette Maurice
Online Learning: you’ve heard of it, but how exactly does it work?

It’s not new anymore; in fact online learning is now more than 15 years old, with the word “e-learning” coined back in 1998! Just about any course you undertake these days has some element that is completed via the web, and some of the most famous training institutions (think Harvard and MIT) are now offering courses online.

But if you haven’t tried it yet- that’s OK.

Open Colleges is the longest-established distance and online learning education company in Australia. More than 700 000 students have studied with Open Colleges, and 92% of our students have told us that they believe our courses are great value for money. If you want to study, if you have a job, if you’re busy, if you need to look after the kids, if you need flexibility and quality – it’s not too late to consider an online course for 2013.

Below is all you need to know about studying online – the A to Z of Online Learning;

A is for Study as an Adult, with adult lives and commitments

As a grown up, you’ve got lots on your plate. With online study, your trainers and assessors are aware of your commitments and they leave the study schedule up to you. No one will nag you or push you to finish more quickly, your learning is all up to you.

B is for Suits a Busy lifestyle

Have a job? An active social life? A house-full of kids? Online learning is perfect for those who need to pick things up when they can, and pause when they have to. With no tight schedules and no lectures to attend, you can get your course done as slowly or as quickly as you like.

C is for Choose a time when you are free from distractions

With a flexible, online course, you can work when you are most productive. This can vary week to week. For example: one month you may be moving quickly though your assessments and the next month you can focus more on reading and researching.

D is for Decide how you pay

When you choose to study online with Open Colleges, you can select to pay for your course upfront (and receive a significant discount) or you can choose to pay for your course in weekly or monthly instalments, making the payments affordable and easy.

E is for The Environment – online study is good for the planet!

It’s true! According to Articulate, due to fewer physical resources being used (no classrooms, no excess paper, no travel time) online learning has been found to have a more positive impact on the environment when compared to classroom or campus learning.

F is for Full Flexibility

One of the greatest advantages of online learning is the fact that it’s fully flexible. You pay flexibly, you use your time flexibly, you spend as much time as you want in our online learning platform, OpenSpace.

G is for Go as fast or as slow as you like to remain engaged with your course

Some students finish their courses in as little as six months, some students take two or three years, and everything in between. With online learning, the pressure’s off, and if something comes up in your personal life, this is no barrier to your course..

H is for Hangouts and new technologies such as Skype and Google Hangouts

One of the main reasons that online learning is so much easier now is because of greater access to better technology. Open Colleges has custom-built OpenSpace, a learning portal where you can meet up with other students and access online learning tools. Our students are also using technology such as Google Hangouts and Sykpe to keep in touch, so you never feel that you’re learning alone.

I is for Interact with other students

Find someone in your area to study with through Open Colleges’ Study Buddy program. Talk about your subject area with other students and chat in the online forums. Interact via Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn and Twitter, the Open Colleges blog or in informED.

J is for Juggle your life priorities

Online learning is ideal for people who have lots of balls in the air, who still want to get ahead in an area of professional or personal interest.

K is for Keeping up, you’ll never fall behind, you can study at your own pace

Many potential students have had a bad experience at high school, or dropped out early from a TAFE or uni course. When you choose to study online, you can take your learning at your own pace, taking a long time on some subjects and going faster on the others. You’re not racing anyone except yourself.

L is for Length of learning

Your course is self-paced, which means you can complete it in your own time frame. Each course has a recommended maximum length, usually 12 or 24 months, but if you’d like to get your qualification sooner – that’s fine! It’s all up to you! Speed through your studies, pause your course or take your time – with no penalties.

M is for Motivation: learn to motivate yourself too – good training for on the job

Many students new to online learning worry that they may have trouble motivating themselves to study on their own. However, learning to be autonomous is something that most adults do at work with ease. Controlling and managing your own work flow can be an essential tool that’s valuable in the workplace.

N is for No travel needed!

Another big incentive for online study is the fact that you never have to get to a classroom. You can study in your pyjamas, at your favourite café, or at any time of the day or night.

O is for Other prestigious learning brands taking up online

MIT, Harvard, Coursea, and edX are just a few large, international learning brands that are now offering courses online. Online learning is growing as a credible and effective way to get your qualifications, and with heavy-hitters such as these joining the trend, online learning will only become more accepted.

P is for Platforms. Engage with new platforms to gain skills

Not skilled with social media stuff? Haven’t dipped into Facebook? Not sure if you should put your resume on LinkedIn? Open Colleges has so many ways of speaking with you and helping you to get the support you need. From a real voice on the phone to a nation-wide network of pals on various platforms, you’ll be able to engage the way you want to.

Q is for Quality of the courses

Most of the qualifications available via Open Colleges are nationally accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework, so the qualification you receive is exactly the same as if you were studying on campus. For information on the level of course right for you, visit Open Colleges.

R is for Resources. Great access to resources

Check out OpenSpace for access to great online resources such as The Online Books Page and the resource sharing service coordinated by National Library of Australia. There’s also a student lounge and access to the GALE library – all for free and accessible at any time.

S is for Serious, robust content in your course, no fluff

Online study is just as comprehensive as study at a campus or in a classroom. All our courses have been designed by industry professionals with years or even decades of experience in the sectors they teach. If you want real knowledge and real mentoring, then the quality you’ll find at Open Colleges is second to none.

T is for TAFE courses

Open Colleges is one of the first online learning organisations to offer a wide range of TAFE courses available through online learning. You can now elect to do a selection of nationally recognised TAFE courses in a flexible way, all online, finishing with a Certificate or Diploma recognised under the Australian Qualifications Framework.

U is for University articulation

Many Open Colleges courses can be counted as credits towards a university degree. Details can be found here. As well as this, some of our courses offer direct articulation into university courses. Studying a Diploma course online could just be the first step on your learning journey.

V is for the Very best in trainers and industry professionals

All of the trainers and assessors at Open Colleges are experts in their fields. They are passionate, industry professionals who know their subjects inside out, and know how to teach. They are there to guide and advise you through your courses and provide meaningful feedback on your assessments.

W is for Work placements – real life experience through on-the-job training

Many of the courses you can study online include a work placement component which helps you to gain real industry knowledge and work experience. Open Colleges’ Work-placement Support Coordinators will be on hand to assist you in gaining a placement.

X is for Xylophonist, sadly one of the few courses you can’t study online!

No, Open Colleges does not offer an online Xylophonist course, but there are still about 100 other courses you can browse!

Y is for a Year: Many of Open Colleges’ courses can be completed in less

There are a number of qualifications that can be completed in one year – some can even be finished in as little as six months – meaning that you can be well on your way to improving your resume and learning about the industry you’re interested in by the end of this year.

Z is for Zero the number of times you’ll have to set foot in a classroom

You could start right now – there’s no need to wait. You don’t have to get up out of your chair, or head to a lecture room. Everything you need to take the first step towards the future of your dreams is here right now. Ready to go?  Contact us and we’ll talk you through the course/s you’re interested in.

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