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  • Writer's pictureEsther

Distance Learning and Why You Should Do It

I have completed more than 50 distance learning courses on different online and offline platforms.

But why? Why am I spending my free time on distance learning after all?

Lack of credibility 👀

It all began with me becoming interested in nutrition. I read many books on the topic, followed blogs and nutrition specialists online and tested different eating methods. Of course, it's too much to say that I became a pro in nutrition, but I knew a thing or two.

At work, I talked with my colleagues about nutrition and what I discovered; also, about topics that hold against the official nutrition doctrine. Well - it all boiled down to the moment when I've been told that as long as you do not have a degree in nutrition, all you say is just your opinion.

What should I say? That hit me and made me think 😵‍💫

One thing was clear: There is no credibility for someone just interested in a topic as a hobby. For credibility, you need proof.

As I already had a degree from a university and no plans to quit my job to go back there, I researched what options I had for getting credibility or proof of knowledge while continuing my 40-hours/week commitment.

The answer came quickly: Distance learning - It allows you to gain defined and relevant knowledge about a certain topic on-demand, at a flexible schedule and with the benefit of getting an official certificate. More info on Wikipedia.

Offline Learning

I researched to find the right course and vendor, and soon, I was ready to start. My first distance learning experience was a 12-month course that cost me approx. 1.800,00 € (It was worth it).

Each month I got a booklet I needed to read and work on. Those booklets ended with an assignment that got reviewed by the instructors.

The learning experience was primarily offline, even though I sent them my assignments via an online platform. But I was able to study and continue my day job - and that was what I wanted.

Sure enough, I finished the course and got my degree in nutrition 🥳 Jepp - now I have credibility when talking about nutrition.

But honestly, the credibility part quickly became minor for me.

Learning as an Experience

The learning experience itself was way more exciting.

Suddenly, I had an easy way to learn new things, deepen existing knowledge and discover many different topics without going back to school but continue having a career.

Even more - deepening and expanding my knowledge came to aid my career, and last but not least: Distance learning is a lot of fun.

And therefore, soon after finishing my nutrition studies, I looked out for another topic and started a new 12-months course about Corporate Communication - a topic much closer to my day job.

Online Learning

I finished this second course in 2017 and discovered that, meanwhile, there have been some significant improvements for proper online offerings - incl. the fact that those courses are much cheaper. As a result, the time of my booklet learning has been over!

Among others, I tested out LinkedIn Learning and Coursera for some smaller to medium-sized courses (as not all courses need to be a year-long to provide value).

I genuinely believe that a couple of hours of intense training will already open the door to new skills or ways of thinking that help you to perform more competently in your job.

For example, a course about how to write compelling headlines might give you some advanced knowledge for better blogging, and a Time Management course can help you organise your days and tasks more efficiently.

For sure, other topics require some weeks or months to complete as the content is massive and complex such as the Google Project Management Course that is scheduled for six months.

Whatever you are interested in or how much time you are willing to spend - there is something for everyone: The different platforms offer bigger and smaller courses for a myriad of topics.

And to my absolute delight: You do not even need to pay for viewing them - at Coursera, for example, you can watch most of all courses for free and gain knowledge.

👉 You only need to pay if you want a certificate as proof of your learning.

Personally, I find that most certificates are nice-to-have and not a must-have. However, it depends a bit on what you want to achieve.

🎯 If it is just about expanding your knowledge or skill set, certificates are optional.

🏆 But for the larger and more complex ones, you can bet I make sure to get my certificate too:

Reasons for Distance Learning

I define distance learning as an investment into myself - and investing in oneself is most definitely one of the best investments possible.

Whatever I learned is now part of me and my offering to the world, and: It can not be taken away from me.

There are plenty of other reasons for distance learning. Here is a small list for you:

  • If you have a job, it is hard to visit the university in parallel. Distance learning allows you to remain on your job while studying on the weekends.

  • You want proof of your expert knowledge but do not have a degree in that field of expertise.

  • If you want a degree from a well-known but distant university, you can move to the city or take a remote course from their offerings.

  • If you already have a degree from a university, you might not need a second degree. Smaller courses can, however, expand your knowledge to sharpen your profile.

  • Distance learning has become so cheap that it is a shame to not use the offers.

  • Your competition does not sleep - make sure to stay ahead of the game.

  • Are you interested in a particular topic? Learn more about it in a distance learning course!

  • Do you want to switch jobs but lack some needed skills: Educate yourself via a distance learning course and get the job.

The list goes on for sure, but I think the point is clear.

I hope you consider doing some courses to gain some new insights now. Undoubtedly, I continue distance learning.

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