Making Time to Learn; Open & Distance Learning
Richardson, Sarah, The Evening Standard (London, England)
Byline: SARAH RICHARDSON
OPEN and distance-learning courses are opening up further and higher education to thousands of people who are unable to commit to fulltime programmes.
IT training provider Computeach offers career-orientated IT courses in areas such as systems building, website design and building databases. Marketing and PR manager Louise Carrigan credits the internet with the growth of the sector. "It is accessible for people in fulltime work," she says. "You don't have to radically alter your lifestyle. We recommend students study for about 10 hours a week."
Raj Patel, a senior development adviser for Leicester City Council, is typical of the kind of student attracted by flexible learning programmes.
Patel, 40, combines his fulltime job and family commitments with studying for an MBA through the University of
Leicester's distance learning programme. "It is relevant and appropriate to my current job and helps me in terms of career advancement in the future," he says.
"I'm exempt from certain modules because I've already completed a Diploma in Management Studies."
The University of Leicester is one the largest providers of distance learning programmes in the world, with more than 3,000 graduates in 80 countries. It works with a consultancy, Resource Development International (RDI), which helps people select the right course and manoeuvre through the application process. "The MBA course is accredited by the Association of MBAs and takes a minimum of two years and a maximum of five," explains Leighann Trick at RDI.
"Tutor support is available through a virtual campus and you can network with other students via chat rooms. Ninety-nine per cent of students are in fulltime employment. …