As schools and universities gear up for the new academic year you may find your thoughts turning towards self-improvement and the acquisition of new skills.

If you’re thinking of ‘going back to school’ this September then our training partner Home Learning College has outlined three rules for choosing the right course.

1) Define your study goals

The first question is whether you’re learning purely for pleasure or to enhance your career. This is an important consideration because it will help you choose the most appropriate option.

If you’re learning for fun then it doesn’t matter what other people think of the course or the final qualification, if there is one. You just need to focus on the factors that will affect your enjoyment of the study experience, which may include cost, location, duration and syllabus.

If, on the other hand, you’re looking to improve your professional prospects then it’s essential you choose a course that will enhance your CV and be recognised by employers. Do some research and find out what qualifications are required for your preferred role and which awarding bodies are most respected within that industry.

2) Match your learning style

Some people enjoy the structure and level of interaction offered by a classroom-based course. Others prefer the flexibility of studying wherever they want, at the time of their choosing, allowing them to fulfil existing work, family and social commitments.

If the latter description sounds most attractive then you should consider a distance learning course which will give you the freedom to choose your own study hours.

3) Choose a training provider with a strong track record

The cost of courses may vary dramatically between learning institutions, so you need to think beyond the price and consider what level of support you’re likely to receive and whether your chosen training provider offers the best chance of success.

One of the most reliable ways to assess the quality of a particular course is to check the pass rate against the national average for that qualification. If the figures don’t fill you with confidence then look for a training specialist with a better performance record.


If you’re going to invest time and money in further study then the end result needs to be worth the effort. You might be gaining skills to support a hobby, help you gain a promotion or stimulate career change. Whatever your goal, it’s important to choose the course that’s most likely to help you achieve that objective.

For more information on Home Learning College’s range of professionally accredited distance learning courses visit