Distance learning offers multiple benefits to those who are able to overcome the challenges that come with it.
Distance or open learning programmes are ideal for adult learners or working students. These type of academic programmes provide flexibility and convenience for students who are unable to study full-time.
Unfortunately many well-intentioned first year students find that they are unable to keep up with the workload and eventually drop out of their study programme.
In 2013 the Mail & Guardian reported that "68% of Unisa students left without graduating."
It is important that students fully understand the demands of part time study. Here are three points you should consider before you decide to join a distance learning course:
1. No lectures
There are no lectures in a Unisa course. This might sound like heaven but no lectures also means that you will not receive face-to-face interaction with your topic expert.
Instead you will be expected to do a lot of reading and writing on your own. Think about whether or not you have the discipline to work through your course material, do your own research and find answers to questions that may arise.
2. Study timetable
With no requirement to attend lectures the responsibility to set time aside for study falls on the individual.
You must be able to draw up a study schedule and stick to it so that you can submit assignments on time and be prepared for your examinations.
Many students find it difficult to maintain a study timetable. Ask yourself if you are able to create and follow a schedule consistently.
3. Computer literate
You must have access to a computer and the internet, and be comfortable working on a pc. Unisa offers an online support platform and it is critical that students know how to access digital study tools.
Unisa has created a tool to help prospective students find out if they are ready for the distance learning journey. Click here to try the readiness tool today.