When you have decided that you want to study you are faced with a number of different study methods and training courses. Depending on your chosen occupation or profession there may be more than one option available to study. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of training and courses that may be available.
Part Time Courses
The benefit of a part-time course is that the hours are usually quite flexible and you are not tied down to a full-time, Monday to Friday course. Most courses are available with a part-time option these days.
Part-time enrolments to various courses around the world have grown more rapidly in the last 10 to 15 years than full-time enrolments, with part-time students now making up almost half of the student population.
You may want to consider part-time study for various reasons such as work commitments, family responsibilities or perhaps you would just like to work at a slower pace.
Benefits of part-time study:
- You receive the same course and qualifications as full-time study
- You can work while you study
- You can balance your studies with other commitments
- Some employers will contribute to tuition fees
- You receive the same great levels of student support and facilities
- You can work around your family or work commitments
- You have the potential to progress within your career
- You are one of a large group of like-minded people – one in three students study part-time.
There is a large range of part-time courses that you can choose from including undergraduate, postgraduate and many other professional courses. If you want to enhance your career prospects, update your professional skills or simply study for your own enjoyment, studying part-time is a great way to do it.
The most short course will run over 10 to 15 weeks and may take around 15 to 20 hours study a week.
You may consider taking a short course to:
- Enhance your skills or professional knowledge
- Give yourself a competitive edge at work
- To satisfy the accreditation requirements of a university or professional body
- To study subjects that interest you and to meet like-minded people.
Short courses are also a great way to get a taste of the subject without committing to a full study programme. If you are currently studying toward a Degree or Diploma for Graduates which does not include all the courses that you need for professional accreditation, you can take the additional courses as short courses.
Short courses range from Introduction courses to in-depth studies. There is also a large range of topics including business, science, computing and technology, photography, art and design, cooking, flower arranging and much more.
Some short courses can offer networking opportunities for people with similar interests. This is a great way to make new friends or business contacts. It is great to interact with people who share your passion.
Short courses are a great choice for people who want to study while maintaining their career or looking after their family. Those who want to keep working while they learn new skills or improve their existing skills can do so by taking a short part-time course in combination with their job.
Home Study Courses
As the name suggests, home study courses allow you to study from home. Home study courses are becoming increasingly popular as people have busy and demanding lives. You can gain globally recognised qualifications through many home study courses while enjoying the flexibility and benefits of learning from home.
The biggest and obvious benefit of a home study course is that you can study in your own time and when it suits you. You will still receive advice and support as you would with any mainstream course. With most home study courses students can enrol at any time of the year and therefore plan their studies to mach with their work commitments and lifestyle. Often students will have access to a distance learning course tutor. Tutor specialises in their field of education and who are committed to helping students succeed in their home learning course.
There are hundreds of home study courses to choose from to gain your qualifications including Beauty Therapy, Anatomy and Physiology, Site Management, Carpentry, Accounting or Bookkeeping, Diet and Nutrition, Fashion, Gardening and Horticulture, Health and Safety, Law and Politics, Nail Technician, Philosophy and Religion, Photography, Psychology and Counselling, Social Care, Travel and Tourism, and many more.
Distant Learning Courses
Distant learning courses are basically the same as home study courses. With a distant learning course you can study in your own time, from home or wherever you choose to study from – reading, watching or listening to material supplied, doing course activities and assignments in the comfort of your own home. You will also have access to a tutor to help you throughout your course.
An online distance learning degree course will give you the same qualifications as any university course in that field but it utilises a Virtual Learning Environment. The distance learning course offers the benefits of a university course but with the flexibility to attend classes and study from home, work or even when on the move.
Distant learning courses are suited to adults and students that are working as they can study around their work hours and they don’t need to spend the time travelling to and from the university. The course is carried out entirely online and the programme of study will fit around the student’s work and personal commitments. There is a very big list of qualifications and courses that you can take with distant learning courses.
Vocational courses are also known as NVQ which means National Vocational Qualification. If you are looking to get a recognised qualification related to a particular industry or sector then an NVQ may be for you. NVQs can be studied at work, college or as part of an Apprenticeship. NVQ is a qualification that is ‘competence-based’ which means that you learn specified occupational or a certain kind of work-related tasks that will help you develop the know-how and also skills to do a particular job effectively. Vocational courses are appropriate both for those who already have skills and want to improve them and for those who are starting out from scratch.
National Vocational Qualification is based on standards for different occupations and those standards will say what a person should be expected to do a particular job. When you progress through the vocational course you will compare your knowledge and skills to those standards to assess what you must to do to meet them.
NVQs can be taken by those who are employed and those who are studying and have a part-time job or access to a work placement.
Vocational courses are assessed on a portfolio of evidence as well as practical assignments. A qualified assessor will observe you and test your knowledge and understanding of the job you are performing. When you reach the required standard the assessor will sign-off the individual units.
Undergraduate course applications are made through the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). These courses may be required prior to gaining a first degree.
Many first degrees will require students to read for the degree of bachelor which may take around three years to complete. However, in the sciences and engineering integrated courses that cover both undergraduate level and advanced level which will lead to a degree of master, these usually take four years to complete and include a research project or dissertation.
There are a number of different causes why you may want to enrol in an undergraduate course in the United Kingdom plus there are many different subjects you can choose from. Courses range from Marine biology to Accountancy and can be completed at many colleges and universities throughout the United Kingdom. A UK degree will allow you to specialise in your chosen field.
If you are fascinated in a particular subject, an undergraduate education will give you a good opportunity to fulfil a career in that field. When studying for a degree, you will learn to work independently and to think for yourself.
Some of the courses that you can select from are computer science and technology, fashion and design, the humanities and many, many others. With such an incredible range of courses and a flexible approach that the education system offers, you are able to select precisely what you like to study and what type, of course, will suit your needs.
You can either enrol to study a bachelor’s degree right from the start or you can begin by taking a 2-year foundation degree or HND, and then complete a degree later. You have the option to study a one honours degree plus concentrate entirely on a single subject or you can study a couple of topics in a shared or combined honours degree.
The duration of an undergraduate course will vary conditioned on the type, of course, you select and will alternate from 1 year up to 4 years.
It can be quite confusing when choosing a postgraduate course as there are many different types of courses available. Some you will need to meet certain entry requirements. You need to find the course that is suitable to your needs and will help you gain qualifications in your chosen field.
Here are the main types of courses available:
With taught courses, you take a series of ‘taught’ courses and then you are assessed on them. The courses may contain a practical project, a research project, dissertation or placement.
Within taught courses there are three different types:
Postgraduate Certificate – is worth 60 credits and may last around 1/3 of a year.
Postgraduate Diploma – is worth 120 credits and may last about 2/3 of a year.
Taught Masters – is worth 180 credits and will usually last for a year. The taught masters is often the same course as a postgraduate diploma with an additional project, dissertation or placement for the extra 60 credits.
In a research course, the main aim is to produce one or more pieces of original research. The format of these courses can vary depending on the subject of the course. Courses can vary from one year to three years or more of full-time study.
You may in some instances be required to attend an undergraduate or postgraduate course although you will not be assessed on these but are to gain specialist knowledge in the particular area of study.
There are two main types of research courses as follows:
Research Masters – may last one or two years.
Doctorates – Doctorate/Doctor of Philosophy – for example. DPhil/PhD. Will usually last at least three years and will lead to a publication of a thesis.
There are also specialist postgraduate courses which are aimed at study toward a specific career. They will often be theoretical and include taught aspects as well as job placements.
Types of specialist courses include:
MBA – Master of Business Administration
PGCE/PGDE – Postgraduate Certificate in Education – for people who want to become a teacher.
GDL – Graduate Diploma in Law – for those who want to practise law.
Evening courses, as the name suggests, are courses designed for those who are looking to study in the evenings. These courses are ideal for those who work full-time during the day and want to study at night.
There is a varied portfolio of courses available in the Evening and Weekend Programme giving the student access to university level education.
Evening courses can help you to:
- Learn a new language;
- Improve your IT skills by taking courses such as web design, databases and spreadsheets;
- Retake a GCSE;
- Study a professional course such as a Certificate in Personnel and Development;
- Gain accreditation for practical skills such as sign language or first aid;
- Pursue an interest or hobby such as art or design;
- And much more.
These courses are usually held by companies to train their employees. In-house courses may last as little as one hour, half a day or a full day. In-house training can benefit staff when they take a course that is directly relevant to their requirements and they will have a more personal approach from the lecturer.
Some companies will hold an In-House course after performance reviews have been conducted and they have found certain areas need improving. By holding In-House courses they can improve the performance of their employees.
Benefits of In-House courses are:
They offer flexibility as they are run particularly for the organisation and are run when and where the company requires.
They can teach a number of employees at the same time which is cost effective for the organisation.
They are great for team building and internal networking within an organisation.
You can align the course to meet your training and organisational values and objectives.
A workshop is a small group of people that study a series of educational and work sessions.
Workshops are great for those individuals who need to refresh their current skills or acquire new skills. By taking continuing education workshops people can keep their skills up to date. Many people who already hold university or college degrees will regularly attend workshops to keep their knowledge and skills current and up to date in their career field.
There are many professions like nursing, teaching and law, that have new developments occurring all the time and professionals within these fields need to keep up to date with those developments and changes.
The duration of workshops will vary from a one-day workshop to a week or a month long workshop. Workshops may take the form of conferences, seminars or online study programs.
A seminar is a presentation or lecture that is delivered to a group of people on a particular topic. They are educational in nature and are usually helpful for groups of 10 to 50 people. Seminars are generally held in office conference rooms or at hotel seminar rooms.
In a seminar, a group of people can talk about a particular topic. Seminars may require reading books or articles to research the topic and then follow with a group discussion on what everyone is learning. People can ask questions and they can be answered in the group. Lectures tend to have people listening to a professor and learning information from that lecture, whereas a seminar is more of a group discussion where the students can talk in a group and learn from the materials given and from the group discussions.
Seminars are most successful if the members prepare for the seminar and also engage in the discussions. The ultimate goal of a seminar is for those who attend to gain knowledge on the topic that they are studying.
Apprentice training is hands-on, practical education that occurs when a worker learns a skill or trade by working with a worker already skilled and qualified in that trade.
It can be difficult to get a job in today’s job market if you don’t have experience and for those who are having difficulty getting a job; an apprenticeship may be a good option.
When a person begins an apprenticeship he will gain the experience that he needs to work in that particular field. Usually, an apprentice will also attend college to learn the theoretical knowledge about the topic, while working in the field to gain working knowledge and experience. An apprentice will often find a permanent job with the company that they gain the apprenticeship through.