I am a veteran learner having graduated 4 times from British Universities. I have completed numerous part-time courses including distance learning. My biggest disappointment has been through distance learning course providers. What I am about to tell you is not a fictional story but real life experience. Why am I telling you in a blog? Because I do not want you to waste your time and money. At the time of writing this blog, we are still living in austere times.
What’s out there?
There are two types of training providers specialising in distance learning:
- Private tutorial colleges
Professional bodies such as CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) and other chartered bodies have a list of accredited training providers on their websites. But does it mean that you will get all the help and support? And goes it guarantee quality training?
You need to ask yourself these questions:
- Refund policy. Most private training organisations offer you a 14 day money back guarantee OR COOLING OFF PERIOD. However, if you have downloaded part of the material you may not qualify for a full refund. Check out their terms and conditions. And be honest with yourself, can you realistically go through ALL OF THE TRAINING COURSE IN 14 DAYS?
- Tutorial support – is it normal office working hours? For example 9am till 5.00pm? Do you work shifts? Can you get tutorial support during week-ends? Best to ask and clarify….Some tutors have part-time jobs and are sub-contracted to the training college.
- How long in months duration do you have to complete the course?
- What is the pass mark on the assignments?
- If there are exams, what is the pass mark?
- If you don’t pass, will you have to pay the exam fees?
- If you don’t get on well over the phone with your tutor, can you change to another tutor?
- If there are errors in the learning materials, who is responsible? Some training providers get a third party to write out their training. From experience I have come across grammatical errors, sentence’s that do not make sense. In their terms and conditions, they meaning the training provider usually have a get out clause…
Here is a real life example:
“Looks at the amount of sales revenue generated person where meet floor space” Source: Blueprint Education & Training. Unit 5030 page 60
“Measuring performance. In this section we will techniques can use in the context” Source: Blueprint Education & Training. Unit 5034 page 29
- Can you realistically complete the course? Remember your work, family and any health problems you may have.
- Will your partner/spouse support you emotionally or financially?
- Does the course lead to a nationally recognised qualification? Keep way from non-accredited certificates/diplomas.
Search the internet to see what jobs the qualification leads to. Remember you are investing time and money so make sure that it is all worth the hard work.
Pay the course fee by using your credit card in case the training provider goes bust or simply disappears. You can make a claim under s.75 of the Consumer Credit Act. Do a google engine search to read about any reviews both positive and negative. Look for a track record.
HEALTH & SANITY WARNING
Do not sign up to “buy now pay later” FINANCE SCHEME. IF IT ALL GOES SOUR, YOU WILL STILL BE LIABLE TO PAY THE MONTHLY INSTALMENT TO THE FINANCE COMPANY REGARDLESS OF WHAT ISSUES YOU ARE HAVING WITH YOUR TRAINING PROVIDER. THE FINANCE COMPANY DON’T CARE. IF YOU STOP PAYING YOUR DIRECT DEBITS, EXPECT A CALL FROM THE BAILIFFS. DO NOT SIGN UP TO ANY COURSE ON THE BASIS OF AN INITIAL PHONE CALL.
An electronic signature constitutes a valid contract. EXERCISE DUE DILIGENCE. THINK WITH YOUR HEAD AND NOT WITH YOUR HEART/EMOTIONS.
Take your time in researching all the training providers. Avoid the temptation of being lured into “Special Offers”. Better to search the internet and look for quality. Search on Facebook, ask for recommendations. Certainly do not ring up the top listed training providers which appear under Google Ads. These companies pay to be listed at the top of the search engine.
I have had no problems when I studied a distance learning course with a UK recognised University. Universities have a reputation to keep unlike the private training providers where profits prevails over ethics.
Don’t be tempted into parting your money by someone being very nice to you…….on the other side of the phone.