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How Distance and Open Learning has Changed my Life


When I was approached to write a piece on open and distance learning education, I came up with this piece. After reading it through, I have come to the conclusion that my life has changed completely because of it. I didn't realise how much until I wrote about it, and got half way through proof reading it. This is what I wrote:

'When I got married I quit my job in the legal profession. Eighteen years on, and three children later, I decided that there had to be more for my future. I had the time to spend on anything I wanted, but I didn't know what I wanted to do. I looked through the courses that Oxford College ODL offered by open and distance learning, and realised that this mode of education was a very good place to start. I had picked out the characteristics of education that I didn't want to bother with, and there were quite a few! Examples of these were not sitting in a classroom with younger students that would show me up, stringent rules and class times that had to be adhered to, and cramming for and worrying about exams that were taken in large halls full of these again, young students. Oxford College ODL through their distance learning and open learning courses was offering me what I wanted, all that was left to do was to choose where I wanted to start.

I decided to start with two courses that were completely different, so I enrolled in one that I thought would help me understand the world around me, and one that would help me with confidence and my relations with my children. The first came in the form of a sociology diploma, and the second in a diploma in life coaching. I knew I was taking a lot on, but this was just for me, and I could take five years to complete them! It hasn't taken me anywhere near that long to complete them both. I have completed my diploma in sociology with distinction, and I am on my penultimate assignment for my life coaching diploma. I have been able to put a lot of time into my studies, but it has only been shy of two years now and I have accomplished more than I thought I would have been able to.

My plans are to move onto a diploma in psychology next which my background in sociology has given me a deep interest in, and for myself rather selfishly, I am going to enrol on the English Literature program which I believe will give me the confidence to enjoy the writings and works of those that spent their lives composing pure and quality entertainment. I couldn't have done all this if it wasn't for the distance learning and open learning courses offered.

Through me, my children have gained confidence. My education in life coaching has given me the ability to support my children without interfering which gives them confidence. My son has since started his own business with my support, and my daughter is studying through distance learning as I am, whilst she trains in distance running. She has realised, as I have, that there are many ways to get a quality education, and it doesn't have to get in the way of other ambitions.'

Distance learning and open learning have changed our lives greatly, and there are many reasons to study this way. I have come to learn that education is not something to be scared of, it is something for everybody, and it is something that you should be able to take at your own pace. Distance learning has done this for us along with show us that education is not just there for those who want to further their job prospects, but it is also there for people to simply gain knowledge in subjects that they are interested in and through this it is impossible to describe the feeling of confidence that is achieved. I had always thought that further education was for those that had to make more money to support themselves and it was just a tool to further their job prospects. It is much more than that and has opened my eyes to a whole new way of life. It is for me, it is for my children, and it is for everyone. Distance learning doesn't discriminate. It is a gift.
About the Author

Emma Jones is from Chelsea London. She studies at Oxford Distance Learning. For more information on Oxford Distance Learning please see www.oxforddistancelearning.com.


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