What type of course is right for me?

Don’t think you have time to start studying, think again…

With the rise of online and distance learning, and a number of institutions offering classroom courses closer to home, there are more and more flexible options to fit studying around busy schedules. There’s even a range of free courses, meaning whatever your financial situation, there’s something out there to suit you.

We’ve already covered some reasons you should start studying, but here are some of our top tips to help you decide which method of study is right for you:


Online & Distance learning

Online learning is completed entirely online, with all of your learning resources and material accessible via the internet (although some exams may still be held at a local exam centre).

Distance learning is similar in that resources are often accessible via the internet, but you’ll also usually receive course material (such as books), and may be required to attend occasional tutorials.

‘Why tie yourself to attending classes when you can enjoy greater flexibility and gain your new professional qualification your way?’ – Home Learning College

Advantages: Flexible; progress at your own pace; start at any point (no set terms/semesters).

Disadvantages: Will require self-motivation.

Perfect for: People who can’t set a specific time in which to study, as their free time often changes. Especially suited to who lead busy lives. Also, good for people looking to study while working full-time.

View all online and distance learning courses


Classroom learning

Those who prefer the more traditional approach to study may be better suited to classroom learning. There are many different types of classes available, from part time and evening courses, to full time lessons held during the working week.

Many of the most popular courses can be undertaken at venues across the country. However, it’s always important to check which ones are offered locally to you, as this will sometimes inform your choice.

Advantages: Supportive; can ask questions face-to-face; gives you the chance to interact with other students; means you have to dedicate a set time to studying.

Disadvantages: Not as suited to people who work better independently.

Perfect for: People who can dedicate more time to studying. Especially suited to people who want constant support when studying, and may become easily distracted when working individually. Also, good for people who have been out of work for a long time, as they will be provided with guidance and reassurance when interacting.

View all classroom courses



Apprenticeships provide on-the-job training, offered through your employer. There are many different types of apprenticeship (they can be in almost any industry, ranging from construction to retail), and they’re a great way of earning whilst you learn.

Although some apprenticeships are targeted solely at candidates between the ages of 16 and 18, many large companies offer them to candidates of any age.

Advantages: Build a career; earn while you learn; practical; learn by doing.

Disadvantages: Can be difficult to get into; can start on low rates of pay; may require a lifestyle change.

Perfect for: Anyone over 16 in the UK, who may want to learn a skill/trade. Especially good for candidates looking for a change of career. Also good for people looking to add qualifications to their CV.

Five apprenticeships you may not have considered

Seven reasons you should start an apprenticeship

View all apprenticeships


Of course, everyone has a different way of learning, and a course or method of study that may be useful for some may not be right for others. Try considering how you’ve learnt best in the past, and the length of time you’d like to complete your course in.

Also, it almost goes without saying that, when choosing your ideal method of study, it’s important to consider the amount of time you’ll be able to dedicate to it. It is vitally important to take into account how undertaking a course will affect your work, family and social commitments.

But remember: whatever your situation and lifestyle, it’s never too late to start learning.



Not sure which course is right for you? View all available courses now.


Find a job