Choose The Right Distance-Learning Course

 

Now you have to choose a course that suits your needs best. When you look at the huge number of courses and the variety of careers they lead to, it might be quite overwhelming, but we have a few tips to make your choice a little easier!

 

 

Important considerations

 

  • NQF Levels:All courses should be accredited and rated on the South African National Qualifications Framework (NQF).NQF levels are awarded according to the skills and knowledge a course offers.

    Be sure how many credits your qualification carries – this is important for future studies as well as professional institutes that you want to join or jobs that you want to apply for. Please visit http://www.saqa.org.za/show.asp?include=focus/ld.htmfor more information.

 

  • Content: The subjects should be on the same standard as that of international courses and be relevant to developments within the industry.  
  • Level of difficulty:Are the textbooks and required assignments at your level? Will you be able to finish the course? Too many distance learning students enrol and drop out after a month or so. Can you balance the course work with your family and career?  
  • Flexibility in learning: Distance learning students should be able to study at a convenient pace. 
  • Learning media: Material should include books, CDs, case studies and student support to clear up any doubts that students might have.  
  • Evaluations: Consider the time constraints of a regular job. Your assignment and examination dates should be convenient.  
  • Skilled tutors and course writers: Students should get the benefits of learning from experienced industry experts without travelling.  
  • Managerial development: It should improve a student’s decision-making skills and managerial capabilities.  
  • Fast-track career growth: The chosen programme should ensure fast progression within the corporate structure.  
  • Cost: The programme fees should be affordable with the option of paying in instalments.  
  • Institute membership: If your goal is to be affiliated with a professional body, you need to make sure your course will allow membership.
     

 

 

To read more, visit http://www.institute.co.za/ or the following websites:

 

Institute of Certified Bookkeepers (ICB):

http://www.icb.org.za

Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA):

http://www.cimaglobal.com

CompTIA:

http://www.comptia.co.za

Fasset:

http://www.fasset.org.za

 

 Tips on selecting the right course

 

  • Self- examination

    Know your own interests, dreams, skills, strengths, limitations, experience, goals, likes and dislikes. If you never had the opportunity, get some career counselling or take aptitude tests.

    Evaluate the reason why you want to study – Is it to start, change or make progress in a career? Do you want to learn practical skills or pursue a hobby? Consider your current situation and lifestyle. For example, how will your studies affect your family and work? 

 

  • Research careers

If your reason for furthering your studies is career orientated, you must know what your long and short-term goals are. What do you want to achieve by studying? Read about specific fields, talk to people who is doing the job or students who study towards it. Find out what they enjoy and don’t enjoy about the career. Remember that every job has a part that is less fun! Take into account that some careers require membership to a professional body and/or demand governmental registration. Be sure to find out what these educational requirements entail. Use all the resources available to you to equip you with knowledge. 

 

  • Make a shortlist

    Once you managed to narrow down your list of possible careers and positions, make a shortlist of courses that will give you access to it. It might be necessary to speak to someone who has knowledge of the courses and career opportunities.  

 

  • Ask the right questions

Make a list of all the questions you can think of regarding the course or courses that you are considering enrolling for. Ask about the duration, content, tutors, support, method of study, examinations, costs, difficulty level, admission requirements, and exemptions for previous studies and follow-up courses. Don’t be shy to ask questions of both an academic and personal nature. 

 

  • Compare, eliminate and choose

Compare everything you know about yourself, your current situation, and future hopes with the information you found about the career and course(s) on your shortlist. Cross out all the courses that don’t fit into your plans. You might also keep a list of these short courses in case your situation changes. It is always a good idea to contemplate complementing or additional skills that you can obtain later. Now have a look at the courses you have left and choose to go after it with all your heart!

 

Use our template to compare courses:

Course comparison template

 

Course

Course 1

Course 2

Course 3

Course 4

Qualification / Programme name

Certification (e.g. certificate, diploma etc.)

 

Course duration

 

Program Cost

 

Materials cost

Equipment required

 

Industry recognition

 

Accreditations

Institute membership

 

Prerequisites

 

Examinations

 

Exam Time

 

Exam Cost

 

Retest Cost

 

Exam deadline

 

Exam locations

 

Consider aptitude tests and thorough career counselling before enrolling. We recommend www.career-advice.co.za for more information on this topic. You are also welcome to follow the following link to do a free career test: http://careertest.co.za