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Should you Study your Course through Distance-Learning, Online, or Face to Face?

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One thing my course advisors are frequently asked by potential students is, “which method of course delivery is best?”   The answer to this question is not straight forward, because each learner has different needs in terms of preferred learning style, time contraints, and lifestyle.

RTOs around Australia typically offer either one or more choices when it comes to course delivery of their most popular courses.  Most commonly, these are online-learning, distance-learning (or correspondence), and face to face (usually called “blended-delivery”, a 5 or 10 day workshop, usually requring additional homestudy – completing many of the major assessment at home).

So…one is best?..  Well, that’ depend on the individual completing the course…

Distance-Learning/Online Course Delivery
Distance-learning/Online delivery are easily the more popular methods of delivery for clients of my training organisation (inspireeducation.net.au).  This is typically because it means learners can start straight away while they are motivated to complete their course, rather than having to wait for face-to-face course intake dates.

Distance/Online delivery normally involves receving either hardcopy, or electronic copies of training course materials and Learner Guides from the registered training organisation via post and/or email, or through an online gateway, and working through your course, unit by unit.  Because you are working through the units at your own pace, this can be a fabulous way to complete your training, because rather than having all of the course units crammed into a 5 or 10 day workshop, you can give yourself time to really consolidate the material, completing assessments as you go and building upon your new skills and knowledge bit by bit.

Interestingly, I was speaking with a auditor contracted by the Department of Education and Training (DETA) just last month, whom expressed a preference for distance and/or online learning because it enabled students to deepen their knowledge of the training course material without having the problem of ‘in one ear, out the other’ than can come from receiving too much course information too quickly in too short a space of time, without the time to really consolidate the information.

When studying your Certificate of Diploma course through distance/online-learning make sure that the Registered Training Orgnanisation (RTO) you choose gives you good access to your Trainer.  Ask them if you will be able to contact your Trainer via telephone as well as through emailCall the RTO and see how quickly they can respond to your enquiry, ask lots of questions and see that they can find out anything you would like to know in a timely manner.  This is a great way to preview the ongoing support you are likely to receive from that organisation.  Besides, the last thing you want to do is pay your course fees and start your course and then find out you don’t have the support you need to complete your course!

All in all, distance/online delivery suits a lot of students.  It enables you to start straight away while you are motivated to complete your Certificate or Diploma training, and by working through units and assessment items step by step, you are likely to gain a solid understanding of what being a good Trainer is really about.  After all, students undertake a course because they want to develop and deepen their training skills.  Make sure whoever you choose is going to make this happen!

Face to Face Workshop (including Blended-Delivery)
Some clients choose to undertake their chosen course by attending a workshop.  This may be due to the company policy, or preference if clients are being put through training by their organisation, or it may be because learners prefer to learn through face-t0-face contact, or in classroom setting.  Really, it is a preference thing, because some people may not feel comfortable working through the material at home, or simply find they learn best in a classroom environment.

Face-to-face workshops durations can vary from course to course, from 1 day through to 30 days or more, depending on the registered training organisation and the course being completed.  The term “Blended-Delivery” is typically used to communicate that completing a workshop does not instantly qualify learners with the Certificate of Diploma qualification.  In fact, a large proportion of  course assessment items are frequently completed by students at home, after the workshop, or between two workshop clusters (e.g. some courses may have a 5 day workshop, and then another 5 day workshop one month later, with students completing assessment items between clusters at home).

While blended-delivery can be a great way to have the course material presented and provide learners with a classroom environment, it is worth examining, how short or long is the course?  How is the course broken up over time?  Shorter workshops may mean that you have a large amount of information delivered in a very short space of time.  For some students, this suits and they have a great experience.  For others, they would really prefer to work through their Certificate of Diploma at a slower pace, therefore distance/online learning may be more appropriate.

Conclusion
Ultimately, which course delivery method learners should choose is a personal choice.  These days, most prefer the flexibility of distance/online learning because it allows them to start immediately and work the training around their lifestyle.  Additionally, because students are working through the material at their own pace it may mean they have a better grip on the skills and knowledge by the end of the course, however this is by no means always the case.  Some prefer having a face-to-face element because classroom interaction is appealing to them, and as a learner the feel they are best taught through this method.  Whatever the choice, if you are looking at studying any course, make sure your chosen RTO delivery qualitys training, good learning materials, and timely student support.  Your success may depend on it!

Thanks for droppping by to our blog.  Take Care!

Brent

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