Friday, 28 August 2015

Help! How do I choose what subject to study for my distance learning course?


The upcoming bank holiday has got us thinking – with an extra day of free time for many, it might just be the perfect time to learning something new. But how might you go about choosing a subject to focus on, especially if you are new to distance learning? This week’s blog aims to help you make sense of your options and choose what you might want to study, and how it works.

(It’s a particularly good bank holiday weekend if you want to study at GCSE level: during August we have been offering £100 off all GCSE and IGCSE subjects including Maths, English, and Science, so if you or someone you know wants to get a Level 2 qualification under their belt, ensure you enrol before bank holiday Monday ends!)

Why choose distance learning?

Distance learning, or home study, is a flexible and versatile way to do a course designed to fit around a learner’s busy life. It doesn’t require travelling to a physical campus or adhering to lesson times set by a timetable. Instead, learners study at any time and place that is convenient for them – after dinner in the living room, on the train to and from work, or in between doing household chores.

This makes distance learning perfect for many different people with a wide variety of personal circumstances, including full-time workers, people with caring or family commitments, people living in remote areas where travelling to college every day would be impractical, and those who find it difficult to access mainstream education due to ill health or a disability.

Knowing your have the option to study at any time and any place means distance learning provides plenty of opportunities for you to successfully complete your course. For more information on the benefits of distance learning, have a look at our list of reasons why distance learning can work for you.

Choosing a subject area

Sometimes when you’re looking for a course you’ll already have an idea of what you want to study. But what if you’re not quite sure? With so many possibilities when it comes to what to learn about, where do you start if you’re trying to narrow down your choices?

Start by asking yourself why you want to learn something in the first place. Is it to progress in your career, go to university, or get a new job? If so, there will usually be guidance on what subject areas and what types of courses might be required or prefered depending on where you want to go.

For example, if you want to study a particular subject at university, you can check the course requirements in their prospectus or on their website to see if they express a preference for certain subjects at A level or equivalent. Bear in mind that different universities will have different requirements, so make sure you know what you need for the institution you are applying to.

On the other hand, perhaps you just want to learn for pleasure, or to broaden your understanding of the way the world works. Some people choose a course after being inspired by a science documentary on television, for example, or hearing a news report that made them want to learn more about the social, political or economic factors that affect the society they live in. Identifying subject areas that are relevant to you personally in this way is a good method of narrowing down your choices when it comes to what to study.

For NEC courses, you can also get a taste of what any particular course has to offer by downloading a free course sample from our website. Free course samples are available for most of our courses, including our Book-keeping and Creative courses as well as our wide range of A levels, GCSEs and IGCSEs. Downloading a selection of different samples and looking through them can help you pick out which subjects you like best.

Our course samples also make great little short courses in their own right and we’ve previously put together a guide for how you can make the most of them. As a quick and easy way of learning something new, why not see what you could learn from them? After all, they’re free!

For a final boost of inspiration, you can also have a look at our previous blog where NEC staff members based at our offices in Cambridge told us what their favourite subjects were and why. Are any of their choices subjects that you would be interested in studying for yourself?

Learn something new

Once you’ve chosen your course, all that’s left to do is to enrol and get started. We hope this guide has helped you think about how you might start the next step of your learning journey, and we wish you all the best and hope you enjoy your course!

About NEC

To find out more about NEC and our wide range of distance learning courses, visit our website. You can also get in touch directly and speak to our team, who are always happy to help. We can also be found on social networks like Twitter and Facebook.

To keep up with all the latest NEC news and events, you can subscribe to our email newsletter or follow this blog.

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