How Does Distance Learning Work?

Learn about the awesome changes that have made distance learning such a great alternative. There are so many options available, not only how you can study but also where.

Distance learning might still be a new way to study for many people. But did you know about the awesome changes that have made distance learning such a great alternative? There are so many options available, not only how you can study but also where. Keep reading and see if distance learning can be your next adventure.

What is Distance Learning?


An open book with a pen on top placed in fron t of a laptop. Next to it is a coffe mug, flowers and a teapotLong Distance Learning is basically studying on your own time, at the place you choose. You can study from anywhere, at any time, working at your own pace. Normally, the first step is to register with your chosen training provider (college or institution). Depending on the type of institution, they will then usually send you the study materials, assignments, tests, and tasks you need to complete.


The only time you need to physically be somewhere is when you write your exams. You show up on the day, in the session you registered for, and write your exam. Afterwards, you normally hand in your course work as well. This is the assignments and tests mentioned above, all collected in a Portfolio of Evidence. This PoE is as important as your exams since it proves your skills in the course you studied. There are many benefits and drawbacks to studying via distance.

Pros of Distance Learning


Distance learning is such a freeing experience since you can manage your own time. You have the power to decide when and where you want to study and do your work. As long as you make enough time for everything, you have the freedom and peace of mind to relax. Of course, the study environment is all up to you, so no more noisy classrooms! You also have the added extra of working as little or as much as you like on a daily basis.

Long distance learning gives you the chance to work as well as completing your studies. Working during the day, and studying nights or on weekends makes it easy to balance this double life. You don’t have to sacrifice responsibilities to either of these two. Distance learning makes your life just that much easier and reduces your stress.

Besides working on your own time and at your own location, studying over a long distance can also help you to take a step back. If the work is hard or confusing, you can take a break and clear your mind. You don’t have to ever worry about working too far ahead or falling behind since you only have yourself to worry about. Being able to choose your exam date, time, and location also makes it a lot easier if you already have a busy life. Have a look here for the exam dates and times.

Lastly, even though you do not have direct access to the lecturer and the classroom, you can still communicate with everyone. There are many resources you have access to, like WhatsApp groups and online study groups at the Student Portal. You can read more about these online resources below.

Cons of Distance Learning


While there are a lot of great things about studying via long distance, there are also some bad parts. One of the main concerns is the fact that you don’t have direct access to the lecturer. You don’t sit in the classroom physically and listen to the lecture, listen to explanations. This can make it hard to understand, especially if you are working with difficult content. The second-hand experience you get with distance learning might be tougher for some people since they need personal contact to understand better.

Another hard part is motivation. When you are in a classroom, you have to work, that’s just how it is. But when you get to choose when to study, it gets a bit more difficult. It gets harder, as you go along, to take the time and make the effort to study. You might be more easily distracted at home by food, music or other noises. Learning how to focus and manage your time effectively is extremely important to succeed in your distance learning studies.

Distance learning student in a library studying from her laptopLastly, with distance learning, you don’t get to improve your social skills. You don’t interact with other students, gain confidence in public speaking or learning more about communication. These skills can be very important in the modern working environment. You would have to take extra time to work on them and make sure you are competent enough.

Distance Learning With Skills Academy


Skills Academy offers excellent distance learning courses, suited for anyone’s needs. Our programmes have less strict entry requirements, allowing you to start studying even if you don’t have matric. Most of the courses only need Grade 10 or 11, making it a great choice for people who may not have had the best school careers.

Studying with Skills Academy also has some great benefits. If you finish your studies before the total course time (you finish in 7 months while the course is 9 months) you can immediately stop paying. You only pay when you study. This also makes it easy to pause your studies in case you need to be somewhere else for an extended time. As soon as you come back, you can resume and start paying.

We also provide a 30-day money back guarantee. If you start studying and decide you are not happy with the course or anything else, you can immediately stop your studies and get your money back. This makes it easier to try something out, like a new course or field of study. You don’t have to worry about being forced to complete something you hate.

One of the fantastic benefits of studying with Skills Academy is the ability to do an accredited ICB Course. These courses are a great way to start your business or accounting career. we teach you all the skills you need to know to really succeed in your field.

What Resources do I get for Distance Learning?


Because distance learning is all about the digital and online world and how it can help you, there are many different resources and tools you have access to that can help in your studies.

Online Resources

When studying a Skills Academy course, there are many online resources to help students keep track of everything. The Student Portal is the central location where everything can be accessed. All of these tools provide students with the extra edge they need to succeed. There are a lot of different types of resources, ways you can use them and how they can help you.

Study and Solutions Guide

Skills Academy also provides you with a study and solutions guide. This is a handy ICB resource as it includes practice exercises and mock assessments with the correct answers given. This is a great resource to have as you can see in which areas you struggle and where you need to give more attention. You will be able to see which areas you will need to study harder for the exam. You are also able to buy additional mock assessments from Edge Learning Media at an extra cost if you choose to do so.

WhatsApp Study Groups

Whatsapp Study groups are a great way to keep in contact with other students studying with you. There are different groups for the different qualifications and types of courses.

As an ICB student at Skills Academy, you will be added to the ICB WhatsApp study groups. This is a nice and easy platform for you to ask questions that other people that are studying the same course and subjects as you can answer immediately. The groups also include a lecturer or course expert that will answer any questions you have on a Wednesday from 14h00 for an hour and a half.

Together We Pass Platform Study Group

When studying through Skills Academy you also get added to a study group on the TWP website at no extra cost. Together We Pass is a platform for peer-to-peer study groups for Unisa students only. Skills Academy shares the platform with Together We Pass to host our own study groups. These study groups are not peer-to-peer only. They include tutors so that when you ask a question or are stuck, someone is able to help you.

Social Learning

Even though it is not a direct tool, social learning is still very much useful. It is the concept of students studying together and helping each other understand the course work. Everyone sees and understands differently. This makes it fantastic when you are working with tough material and you are struggling. Other students are there to help you get past it, and you can help them in turn.

Lecturer Support

A great advantage of study through distance learning with Skills Academy is the lecturer support. You are able to phone any time during office hours and talk to one of our lecturers. They will help and guide you over the phone as best as possible.

Other Resources

Besides online content, there are also a few other resources that can be helpful in your studies.


When signing up to study a course through Skills Academy, they provide you with the needed textbook for the course. This makes it a lot easier for you as you don’t have to spend extra money or have to go out and source your textbook yourself. It is included in your package with them.


The Prospectus is essentially your guide to life as a Skills Academy student. It contains all the needed info on the courses, how studying works, what to expect and so much more. The prospectus can be found online or handed out as a physical brochure. Whenever you have any questions, you should first check the prospectus to see if it might give you the answer.

When studying through Skills Academy, you will have enough resources to help you close the gap between distance learning and classroom learning.

Is Distance Learning the Right Choice for me?


Deciding on how and where you should study will always be a difficult choice. It all depends on your own personal situation and circumstances. Here are some tips on whether or not you should consider distance learning as an option.

  • If you have not passed Matric (only have Grade 10 or 11) distance learning might be a great option for you. Courses like the ICB Qualifications offer you the chance to study after school, even without matric. our courses start on NQF Level 3, which is the same as Grade 10 or 11, while Matric is NQF Level 4.
  •  You are unable to attend classes because of the physical distance. This is a huge issue for some people. They might not have the transport available, or they just live too far away from any colleges or institutions. This is one of the main reasons many people choose distance learning.
  • If you have a full-time job or other responsibilities, you might want to consider distance learning. Balancing a job while studying at the same time can already be tough without the extra stress of attending classes. This frees up your options a bit allowing you to keep your job and further your skills.
  •  If you struggle with managing your own time and are not disciplined, you might want to consider other options. Part-time studies are similar to distance learning because you still attend classes, but they are after-hours or on different days. This means you can still have a job while fitting in your classes as well.
  • Distance learning can also be excellent if you prefer working on your own. Everyone studies in their own manner, they have different ways they study and manage time and concentrate. If you like being alone or having a quiet study environment, then distance learning would be perfect. You can go where no one will disturb you, in peace and quiet.
  • Family responsibilities can also make it tough for us to attend regular classes. Perhaps you have a sick relative or family member you need to take care of. Distance learning makes it easy to continue your studies without worrying about leaving them alone.
  • You don’t have to worry about if distance learning is recognised in the workplace. Normally, if it is an accredited qualification, employers will recognise the skills and experience you have picked up. They will see you have the right background and be able to provide you with a job.
  • Lastly, if you are physically unable to attend classes and study, because of a disability, distance learning can be awesome. You can study any way you want, you don’t have to worry about other students bothering you or making you uncomfortable. As long as you are able to manage your time and be disciplined, there is no reason you cannot also finish your studies and receive a qualification!

Distance learning is such a great way to start your studies or even to continue where you left off. The freedom and ease of how, what, when, and where you can study makes an easy choice for most people. If you want to start your future, take those first steps and register now.

Written By: Michael Kritzinger

Last Updated: August 24, 2020

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