Long-distance learning is doable and you can succeed in it

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Long-distance learning is a convenient way of self-development and giving oneself an opportunity to achieve financial freedom through promotion at work, entrepreneurship, or qualification for a new career.

Many people opt for long-distance learning because of their daily responsibilities such as full-time employment and taking care of their family members. Time management, goal orientation and self-discipline are the main requirements to be a prosperous long-distance learner.

Nomahlubi Ngwenya, 28, of Kagiso is a full-time sales assistant in Muldersdrift, but decided to enroll at the Westcol Technical and Vocational Education and Training College in Krugersdorp’s CBD to study Human Resources Management.

“I’ve always wanted to further my studies,” she said, “but due to my job I couldn’t attend normal classes. However, my new qualification will open many doors, and enable me to venture into a different career.”

Nomahlubi had to figure out how and when to set time aside for her studies, because she does not have the regular assistance of lecturers or class tutors. She has learned that procrastination (putting things off for as long as possible) is her worst enemy, and leaving her assignments to the last minute often puts her under pressure to meet the study goals she sets herself at the beginning of every semester.

The most stressful period for many students is exam time, with some even confusing their exam dates. It is essential to create a study time-table, a calendar and reminders that can be recorded on your mobile phone or in a book. Having study material ready and in the proper order is also key to success. Always check which modules the next two exams will be based on, and prepare while you have time. Do not set yourself unrealistic goals, understand your workload and work out how much time you will allocate to each module. If there is a chapter that you do not understand, revise it and determine exactly what you don’t understand. Make notes to ask your lecturer, or another student who may have a clearer understanding of the matter, for help. Make sure that your lecturers know you, speak to them whenever possible and consult them about what you need, like study material or past exam papers. And when you have set a time to study, do not allow family members or friends to disrupt your study session. Pule Cebekhulu, a lecturer at a college in Johannesburg, said many correspondence students fail because they let their work and personal duties interfere with their studies.

“Yes, you have a life outside your learning capacity, but don’t lose sight of your study goals, your education needs your undivided attention and discipline,” said Pule.


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