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We are blessed to live in a society where schooling is `free` and sometimes I think we overlook the fact that education costs money. In recent years, the government has provided funding for some professional classroom courses, which provided a very helpful reduction in the cost of a course. However, as we know, budgets are being slashed and universities and some colleges are being forced to recoup the full cost of offering professional qualifications. This means the cost for some AAT classroom courses in the UK are increasing significantly.
However, all is not lost. There are more affordable options for those that can’t, or don’t want to commit to paying high course fees. AAT distance learning courses usually cost much less, with course prices as low as £699 per course.
Why do distance learning courses cost less?
As you’ll learn on an AAT accounting course, it’s all about economies of scale: what the costs are for the organisation (size will affect this) and the volume of students they are able to support. The greater the volume, the lower the cost per head. There’s a limit to the number of students a college can teach when they offer classroom courses. Whereas, for most distance learning centres the volumes of students supported are much larger.
How does this affect teaching and learning?
There are pros and cons to each method of teaching and learning. One size does not fit all. We often see students switching from classroom courses to distance learning and vice-versa. If you’re considering switching from a classroom course, we’ll help you understand what is entailed so you can make an informed decision.
Distance learning providers’ courses vary quite significantly in the approach to teaching and learning, so you’d need to do some careful research to ensure you’re going to choose one that meets your expectations.
Do you prefer flexibility, or do you need structure?
Generally, most AAT distance learning courses aim to provide you with complete flexibility. That means you can study where you want, when you want, how you want and at a pace that suits your individual needs. On most distance learning courses, you can choose your own AAT Approved Assessment venue, book your exams when you feel ready and achieve more rapidly. There are also courses which provide more structure, such as a schedule of weekly live online lessons, as an example.
Whether you choose a flexible course or structured course, this study method requires you to take control of your own learning experience. You need to be able to motivate yourself, organise your own work and be disciplined so you stick to your targets. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about learning in isolation or unaided! You’re not left to get on with it entirely on your own. A good distance learning provider will work with you, guiding and helping you along the way, as and when you need it.
What’s your preferred learning style?
It’s so important to think about your preferred learning style before you purchase a course, as the learning tools provided on each course can vary a lot.
You could ask yourself, do I need to:
- Read, know the detail, absorb the theory and reflect? I’d say published texts are a must for you.
- Dive in, learn it by doing it and problem solve? Learning purely from texts books will turn you off! Activity based learning tools will suit you best.
- Watch, see visual illustrations, listen, and be actively involved? You’d enjoy pre-recorded e-learning, or live online lessons.
- Physically handle learning materials and use a pen and paper? Printed learning materials are a must!
- Do everything online? A purely online course might be alright for you.
When you have an idea about how you’d like to learn then you can check that you’re going to receive the type of learning materials that suit your preferred style of learning. Even better, if you can sample the learning materials before you buy, you’ll get a feel for whether you like the provider’s teaching style too!
You could be studying with your training provider from six months to three years, depending on which route to qualification you take. So, take that little bit of time to do your research, as the quality of the products and services you receive can affect your motivation, how rapidly you achieve the qualification and how cost effective that will be.
If you’d like to try distance learning, we’d also recommend purchasing one course at a time, rather than purchasing a combined course. Then, you’re not committed and you have the flexibility to choose what you want to do next.
We provide free samples of our course materials on our website. Please do explore and contact us if you’d like to consider studying with us. We’d be delighted to be able to help you.