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What's it like studying online? Pitman students reveal all

Pitman is a big name in office training and many people looking for a career in the likes of IT, administration, and accounts to name a few, will be hoping to get this name on their CV.

Jade O'Donoghue
12th February 2016
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Known for providing courses without rigid timetables that can easily fit around busy work and home lives and with centres all over the country, it's easy to see why.

One thing Pitman are quite big on is providing online resources so that their courses can also be studied from home. With the popularity of studying online increasing, this type of learning is shaking off the taboo it once had of 'not being as good as classroom based studies'. In a world where we're more connected than ever, Pitman are making the most of this to enhance their students' learning opportunities.

With many of their students taking courses that include online aspects, we caught up with three of them to find out what it's like training this way to give you an insight on what makes people choose such courses and what it's like to study in such a flexible way.


Why do it?

There are many obvious reasons for taking courses that fit around your life and completing some, if not all, of your studies online is the perfect way to do this. Chris Charlton took the AAT Accounts Technician Level 2 course with the hope of changing his career and said this was actually his favourite part of the course, 'I have really enjoyed the fact that I am able to do the course at my own pace; when I am able to do more, I can, but when I'm not, I can do less.' And it's this flexibility that you get with online learning that can be really appealing; there are less deadlines and demands placed up on a student and so your training can be done to suit you.


A different type of training

It is very different though to classroom training and when studying online, motivation is key. Many course providers provide support though and Pitman is no different, with trainers always available. Ricky Halliwell was another student after a career change and decided to move into web design. For him, the trainers were an important back up, just knowing they were available, 'They were friendly, helpful and always on hand when I needed them. I struggled with time when I started my course. Originally when I started it, I was off work with an injury so once I returned to work it was hard trying to juggle that and my course. If there was a problem though, the trainers would do their best to solve it.'

If you're the type of person who needs that support and feels reluctant to take an online course without it, do your research into the course provider you're thinking of training with at the start. They should detail how their online courses are made up and whether you get any face to face tutor contact.


Not always easy

Online courses have long been considered a bit of a 'free ride', with people wrongly assuming they're not as much hard work as those held in the classroom. This is a complete myth though and in fact they can sometimes be harder as you have to motivate yourself to work.

Jennifer Corcoran is a working PA and wanted to add another string to her bow by training in social media but agreed it can be difficult learning online without others around you, 'The lack of engagement when studying from home was at times hard, but having said that the YouTube videos which formed a large part of the course made me feel like I was interacting anyway.'

When looking into studying online, work out what will help you along when you're finding the lack of human interaction tough; is it Skype chats with a tutor or fellow student? Or asking your trainer some questions by email? Or maybe, like Jennifer, videos will help. Identifying any things that might stop you being motivated before you begin should ensure you don't hit a wall once you've started.


Where can it lead?        

Online courses have come a long way in recent years as technology has developed and as such many are on par with ones you'd once have to have studied in a classroom. Because of this, the possibilities are endless. For Jennifer it was about building confidence, 'I have since set up my own blog and it's great to feel up to date with all the social media platforms.' For Chris it was about taking that first step on the career ladder in accounting, 'I'm looking to improve further by taking the next level course.' And for Ricky it was about going straight into a new job. Whether you're just wanting to learn and expand your knowledge or you need a specific qualification for your CV there are certainly online options out there.


Time for you to log on

We ask the Pitman students at the end whether they think online courses are worth recommending and we got a resounding yes. If you want to start your search, you're in the right place. To find the one for you, start by typing in the subject you're after, then, when you get the results, scroll to the bottom of the 'Refine your results' column and select online. You'll find so many options available; you're likely to be spoilt for choice. 

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