Covid-19 has disrupted education around the globe and there’s a chance that similar recurring pandemics could become an annual event, so distance learning may be the best way to study without interruption.
Whether you are a postgraduate student wanting to study further while you are working, a first-time student looking for a flexible learning solution, or a professional seeking to advance your career, the right course is out there, waiting for you.
Benefits of distance learning
With distance learning, you can:
- fit your studies around your work and home life;
- decide exactly when and where to study;
- gain a qualification from anywhere in the world;
- save money – online courses often cost less than if you physically attended a campus to gain the same qualification;
- fast-track your career by studying while working your way up the corporate ladder; and
- be a valuable asset to your company, which will be able to capitalise on your increased skills and qualifications
Making the right choice
Most of the major universities in South Africa, including the University of Witwatersrand, University of Cape Town, Stellenbosch University, University of Johannesburg, University of Pretoria, University of KwaZulu-Natal, University of the Free State and North-West University, offer distance-learning programmes. Of course, we also have Unisa, one of the largest correspondence universities in the world.
Additional accredited distance learning institutions in South Africa include:
- Milpark Business School
- Mind Development Academy
- Regent Business School
- Chartall Business College
- The Management College of Southern Africa
- AAA School of Advertising
Completing a course at any of these institutions or their worldwide counterparts will give you a qualification that is accredited, recognised by your employer and worth adding to your CV. That said, don’t dismiss online learning platforms – they can be a great way to enhance your job talents, learn new skills or even learn about a new career. Here are four worth checking out:
Udemy hosts more than 65 000 courses on a variety of subjects across multiple disciplines. It regularly offers substantial discounts, making it one of the most affordable online learning platforms. Bear in mind that Udemy is not an accredited institution, which means certificates are not recognised by employers. There is a rating system that provides insight on how beneficial courses are to students.
Coursera provides an online learning library in multiple subjects including sciences, marketing, engineering and business. It has more than 2 000 courses and 25 million registered users. Coursera works with certain colleges and universities to offer specialisations in trending subjects and offers a mix of accredited and non-accredited courses.
One of the largest professional online networking platforms, LinkedIn Learning provides over 6 000 courses on business, tech and creativity-related skills. While courses are taught by industry experts, certifications are not accredited for all fields, including IT.
Microsoft Learning Online Programme
For an IT certificate that is recognised by employers, a better option would be to pursue the Microsoft Learning Online Programme. There are more than 16 different certifications, each with an exam to become Microsoft-certified. Microsoft’s certification courses are also college-credit transferable and have been useful in helping graduates receive promotions to better jobs or higher-paying positions. If you choose to become Microsoft Learning-certified, be sure to check out their recertification programmes to stay current.
It’s worth investing some time researching the various institutions and which course best suits your needs. Adding another qualification or certification to your name is never a wasted effort, and with distance learning you don’t run the risk of disruption during uncertain times.