Last updated: 12.02.14

Digital learning can help with 'career switches'

For most working professionals looking to either upgrade their skills or learn new skills altogether, the prospect of enrolling in a part-time training course or degree can be a daunting one. After all, fitting education around a regular job is not easy, while the cost of paying for a course is another stumbling block.

However, there may be a solution that eliminates both of these problems at once: work-based distance learning (WBDL).

The basic premise of this type of course is that it enables professionals to undertake degree-level training that is built in to their regular job, completing coursework and projects that are connected and advantageous to their employer company as well as their personal ambitions.

For example, students interested in upgrading their business skills will complete projects within the framework of the company they work for, helping to come up with real-life solutions that can be implemented by their employer, while also counting towards the completion of the course.

As a result, WBDL students are able to align their education with their work, meaning they can do both at the same time rather than separately.

On top of this, the fact that WBDL is so beneficial to students' employers means it's in companies' interests for their workers to undertake this type of education, making it easy for those interested in these courses to convince their employer to pay some or all of the tuition fee.

The other benefit of WBDL is that it offers complete flexibility in terms of when, where and how to study, with no fixed term dates and all contact with lecturers taking place via video calls.

Because of this, the military has been one of the biggest subscribers to the programme, helping members of the armed forces to study in a way that helps both the individual and the unit in which they operate, even while they are stationed overseas.