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Home Study Courses – Why Study From Home?
Home study has been around for a very long time and until the ILA scandal was viewed in a very positive manner. The flexibility of taking a home study course was and still is the major advantage over the traditional scheduled courses on offer at colleges. Many colleges offer home study as part of the learning schedule now as it makes perfect sense to only have to visit the college every so often in order to sit in on a lecture, ask questions and generally network with other students. The problem with this is that the tutor more often than not has no experience with helping students when not face to face. Consequently problems occur. A home study tutor needs more skills than a classroom tutor in so much as they have to be qualified in the subject they teach plus be able to communicate the skills and information by e-mail and telephone when helping a student. Many college tutors have little or no experience other than the fact that they took the course they are teaching.
Understanding that we are all different in personality and learning ability is a must, and as there are only small numbers, 10-20 students in a class it takes a lot of time, maybe years to become a good tutor. A clash of personality often causes friction and the end result is that the tutor still gets paid while the student fails. Six months on it’s just a case of next class please. Perhaps the tutor didn’t like it very much so then it’s a case of next class, next tutor please.
The fact that there are very few free courses of any worth available in the colleges now a student is having to invest time and money for a course and as such wants a return on investment. Missing a couple of classes through a variety of genuine circumstances results in the student losing out. Some tutors will pass on notes and maybe allow the student to do some home study to catch up, but this is not something that can be demanded by the student.
What’s this I hear you say?? Home study rescued the situation!!!
Going back to the days prior to ILA there were only a few colleges and training providers offering the flexibility of a home study course. It was virtually unknown and as such not popular. It was also not very traditional as we were used to being taught in a classroom. The introduction of the ILA’s and the easy money that came with them opened the doors for just about anyone who could fill out an application form and in flooded the unscrupulous. A massive amount of government money was being paid out to companies offering nothing more than a few pieces of paper containing a lesson which was easily printed off from the internet. It took a while for the government to spot what was going on but once they did it was a case of closing the ILA scheme down and then setting about trying to trace the companies who had taken the money in an attempt to get something back either simply or by going to court.
The unfortunate result of this is that the home study industry was now tarnished and understandably people were extremely cautious when considering taking a home study course. The plus side to all of this is that the majority of companies who were around before ILA had done nothing wrong but as the business had taken a hit it was a case of improve the standards or close down.
The survivors worked hard to rescue the industry and over time with the investment of time and money making improvements in standards and quality of provision the home study industry started making a comeback. Home study courses were now but much better than before and people started spreading the good word. Let’s face it’ the flexibility and costs are perfect but what about the quality of provision and materials and what about the pass rates and qualifications?
The advantage of home study also works in favour of the training provider because a tutor can handle hundreds of students at a time and as such gain invaluable experience in dealing with our complex personalities plus learns how to answer all manner of questions from students with varied learning abilities and aptitude. It requires someone a bit more skilled than a classroom tutor to be successful as a home study tutor. Yes some are brilliant, some are good and some are bad. The good ones get better with experience and training, and the bad ones generally end up not having any students referred to them. Most tutors supporting home study courses are paid on the basis of how many students they have, so the bad ones generally end up seeking a different career.
The majority of home study courses lead to recognised qualifications and in order to provide a course with a qualification the training provider, workbooks content and tutoring would have to be examined and approved by the awarding body prior to the training provider being able to provide the course. The awarding body would also monitor the feedback from students and also the results. If a training provider was not performing well they would be given a series of objectives to meet in order to continue offering the qualification. Failure to do so would result in the training provider losing its accreditation.
There are a variety of home study courses available now, a lot more than can be found in a college and with the quality of provision added to cost and flexibility there is no wonder that it is a growing industry. Every year we see at least three new companies providing home study courses and the only advice I would offer is to look into a company’s reputation and history. This is not intended to discriminate against a new company as some have been formed by people with a mass of experience in providing home study courses but what has to be examined is whether or not they are actually providing the courses, or are they simply tapping into the infrastructure of other companies and simply reselling the course under a different name. Is it their course in other words? Do they own and produce the material and do they have tutors? Are they accredited and approved by the awarding bodies?
The actual course provider in general does not have a problem with this as the new company would have to sign a reseller agreement. Terms and conditions have to be adhered to including how the courses are marketed and described. The reseller receives either a discount or commission on the courses they sell.
The big advantage here is for the student as they would be using materials and a tutor that has been tried and tested. The disadvantage would be in some areas of communication where they would effectively be speaking to a third party which can become very frustrating.
Training Link provide a variety of home study courses which are tried and tested, come with full tutor support and are accredited by awarding bodies.
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