Thursday, 20 November 2014

Distance education: Catherine's route to life-long learning

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Part time Library Assistant Catherine Speechley has passed her IGCSE in Biology with NEC and is now studying for an IGCSE in French
NEC student Catherine has what she describes as a haphazard routine, with her hours of work constantly changing. Her time at school was positive, and she left with 10 GCSEs and four A levels, going on to do a master’s degree at St Andrew’s University.
Catherine was frustrated when she was at school that she had to drop some subjects because there was a limit to the number of GCSEs pupils could do. Now in her 40s, she is catching up with the subjects she left behind. When Catherine wanted to study biology, she knew that distance learning was the right way to go as she would not have been able to work around a college timetable. She had already had a taste of open and distance learning when she did a course in web design a few years ago.
The decision to opt for NEC was a simple one: ‘When I enquired about the course, I got a proper reply from a human being rather than being sent in the direction of information on a website.’ The NEC also offered value for money in comparison with the other options she had researched and allowed her to study at her own pace. She began studying in May 2012 and passed her IGCSE two years later.
‘Distance learning with NEC has been just what I hoped it would be,’ says Catherine. ‘In fact, it has exceeded my expectations as everything has worked – the tutors and the course materials have all been great. The tutors are so encouraging with their comments and don’t inundate you with loads of heavy corrections. They manage to point you in the right direction with just a few words, even if you have lost the plot! I particularly liked the way NEC was able to arrange for me to sit my exams at a local centre. All I had to do was fill in a form, pay and turn up for the exams!’
She adds: ‘Distance learning works for me because I’m very self-motivated and know exactly how much self-discipline you need to succeed. I’m now studying French with NEC and love the way you can upload assignments to the website for your tutor to mark as it’s so convenient.’
Her employer has been very positive about her wish to keep on learning and in the past has even funded her to do courses such as Levels 1 and 2 British Sign Language, which took three years to complete.
‘People learn in different ways and distance learning is quite a challenge if you’re not used to studying on your own,’ concludes Catherine. ‘To anyone wondering whether distance learning is right for them, I would say go for it - but be very aware that the motivation is down to you.’

To find out more about NEC, our work, and the wide range of flexible distance learning courses we offer, visit our website. You can keep up to date with all our latest news and events by subscribing to our newsletter or following our blog. You can also find us on social networks, including Twitter and Facebook.

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