What type of course is right for me?

what type of course is right for me

The benefits of studying are far reaching: taking a course can be a great way to enhance your career prospects and can radically change your life (not to mention your pay packet). But if you don’t think you have time to start studying, think again…

Whether you have a hectic daily schedule or you think you have too many work commitments, reed.co.uk has a course to suit you.

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 into our precious schedules. There’s even a range of free courses, meaning whatever your financial situation, there’s a course for you.

But how do you know which method of study is right for you? Here are some of the key facts, to help you make your decision.

Online & Distance learning

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

Distance learning is similar in that resources are often accessible via the internet, but you will also usually receive course material 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: Can be difficult to stay motivated.

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, and 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 basically provide on-the-job training, offered through the chosen company. Each apprenticeship is different (and can be in almost any industry, ranging from construction to retail), but they can be 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.

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.