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What is distance learning and what are the benefits?

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What is distance learning?

Online distance learning is a flexible way of taking a course without the need to attend traditional lectures at a college or university, with all of the course material being delivered online. Distance learners studying with the University of Sunderland benefit from lectures and support delivered through our Virtual Learning Environment, Canvas, which is accessible from internet-connected devices anywhere in the world.

Sign up for one of our online Q&A sessions to find out more about studying for an International Initial Teacher Training course via distance learning.

A girl studying independently at a table

What are the benefits of distance learning?

Now that you know what online distance learning means, what are the benefits of this approach to studying? Read on to discover some of the fantastic reasons to choose one of our distance learning courses at the University of Sunderland, or sign up to receive more information.

1. Flexibility

One of the most appealing benefits of a distance learning course is undoubtedly the flexibility that comes with this method of studying, helping you to achieve a healthier balance between your work and home life. Online distance learning is ideal for those who may have existing commitments, such as being in employment or being a parent, as it allows you to work at your own pace and fit your studies around your schedule.

Furthermore, our distance learning courses allow you to study from anywhere in the world that has internet access. You’ll interact with other students in online discussion forums and your tutors will guide and support you via email, phone and the University’s e-learning portal. We also offer a choice of start dates that fit around the school calendar in your country.

2. Boost your career

A University of Sunderland degree is an internationally recognised qualification, so whether you’re already in employment or just starting out in your career, an online distance learning course will help you develop the skills, experience and knowledge you need to get to where you want to be.

Additionally, according to graduate labour market statistics 2021, postgraduates earn on average £6,000 a year more than their undergraduate counterparts, so there’s never been a better time to consider one of our distance learning courses.

3. You'll receive first class support

We have distance learning students in over 60 countries around the world and the delivery of our distance learning courses allows you to benefit from being a member of a global community of learning and educational practice. You can study in a flexible and independent manner, but you’ll still be well-supported, enabling you to achieve a recognised professional and academic qualification.

You’ll have access to innovative learning technologies, including the Virtual Learning Environment, which caters to different learning styles. There is even an app for Apple and Android devices which gives you access to your study materials on the go.

“My study at the University has been entirely online and I consider the experience one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I would recommend it to anyone – just go for it!”

Sara Curtin
PGCE Early Years Teaching (DL)


4. Choose from some fantastic courses

We offer a wide range of postgraduate distance learning courses within the School of Education including:

5. Gain some valuable skills

Another great benefit of distance learning is that you’ll gain some transferable skills during your course which will prove to be incredibly valuable in later life. Being in control of your own learning requires self-motivation and self-discipline, the ability to work independently and impeccable organisational and planning skills.

When you graduate, these skills you’ve acquired will ensure that you’re even more prepared to enter the world of work.

6. It can be financially beneficial

Studying a distance learning course can also be financially beneficial compared to undertaking a traditional on-campus degree. For starters, you’ll save money on transport costs, which can significantly mount up if you were to travel to and from university every day.

Being in charge of your own study time will also allow you the opportunity to work full or part time alongside your degree should you wish to keep earning throughout the duration of the course.

7. Graduate with a high-quality degree

The University of Sunderland has a proud history of delivering high-quality education and is renowned for training teachers, pharmacists, PR professionals, journalists and engineers, so you can be assured of the quality of learning if you choose to study with us.

We were also recently named a top 50 UK university in the Guardian University Guide 2023, so if you choose to join us on one of our online distance learning courses, you’ll know you’re in safe hands.

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Sound good? If you’d like to learn more about online distance learning, take a look at all of the courses we offer.

Published: 11 November 2022