Distance learning may seem tricky for students who are accustomed to a classroom environment. With distance learning, you are given the freedom to study at your own pace and at a time of day that suits you. Distance learning institutions are ideal for anyone working and still wanting to study to boost their career. If you are interested in joining the distance learning world then read further to find out more about it.

What is Distance Learning

Distance Learning is defined as the type of education where students don’t meet in classrooms, but rather study remotely and on your own. You study from the comfort of your home and at your own pace.
More and more students are considering distance education over all other types of education. It is generally more convenient, especially for working individuals who still want to further their education and gain a qualification and for parents who are working and managing family needs.

How Does Distance Learning Work?

Although distance learning has become increasingly popular over the years, some people still seem to ask the question, “How does it work?”.

It’s simple, it is exactly what it says – learn from a distance. With distance education, you are able to study anywhere and at any time. Your institution of choice will send you all study material you will need for your course.
Your textbooks, assignments, study guides and tests are sent to you. You complete the assignments offline and email them back. You will be required to write a final exam, which will be done at a venue. Distance learning is different from online learning, where you have to go online via the internet and watch videos or complete tasks, for all of your studying.

However, distance learning does require a lot of discipline. It is so easy to fall behind on your studies, especially when you are so dependent on teachers and other students. Follow these tips on how to succeed as a distance learning student.

Benefits of Distance Learning

There are plenty of benefits that come with distance learning. It is no wonder people are choosing this type of education over and over again. Below we have listed a few of the most popular benefits that comes with being a distance education student;

No Travel

You don’t need to travel to and from a campus every day. Sometimes it can be quite difficult for people to get to classes but, studying from home makes it possible by just switching on a computer or opening a textbook. This definitely saves you money spent on travel. 

Lower Cost 

Generally, face-to-face education institutions do tend to cost more as it involves a variety of hidden costs, unlike most distance education colleges. The institutions have a lot of other things to consider which include staff salaries, campus maintenance, water and electricity, and so much more.This is worked into the student fees to keep up with the expenses. 

Own Pace 

All students study at a different pace. Some are fast learners, others take a little longer. With distance learning, you decide when to move onto the next section without any pressure of waiting for others or trying to catch up. Another benefit is that you are completely in control of deciding your own study hours. If you are a night owl and you feel you learn best then, distance education allows you to do that.

Work and Study

Not everyone is able to fully commit to studies. We all have responsibilities and some more than others. Distance learning allows students to work while studying and therefore can earn an income while gaining a qualification. If you need some advice on this matter then read our article about how to work and study.

Comfortable Location

The classroom environment can be draining for some people. Most enjoy their own company and focus best that way. In fact, classrooms are filled with distractions and for this reason distance learning is the best option. You are able to sit in the comfort of your own home, or maybe even go to your local library. Wherever it is that you focus best and feel comfortable, that’s your decision.


Distance learning still offers you support as you study. Tutors are available to guide you and offer support as you need it. You may also choose to form a virtual study group with other students.

Picture of a boy on his laptop with "How does distance learning work?" on a green and two blue circle background accompanied by Bellview logo and illustrations of a book and lightbulb

Types of Distance Learning 

Distance learning can actually become quite confusing as there isn’t just one type. Although they do have many similarities, they also have their differences. It is important to know the difference between the different types so that you can pick the one that best suits you.

Correspondence Learning 

With correspondence learning, you will receive physical course materials. Your institution will send you your textbooks, assignments, study guides etc. Everything is self study and at your own pace. Nothing is online, unless you need to contact your tutor or one of the staff members at the college. Bellview Institute is considered a correspondence learning college. However, our staff are always willing to assist and support when needed.

Online Learning 

Online learning requires you to have internet access as it is a form of electronic learning. All your study materials will be downloaded onto your computer and your assignments will be submitted online. You will also be able to participate in virtual lectures and online tutor sessions. Online learning is the most interactive type of distance education as it allows you to communicate with lecturers, tutors and other students in real-time, but it demands excellent internet connectivity and data availability.

Hybrid Distance Education

Hybrid distance education is basically a mixture between face-to-face and distance education. Students can decide whether to go to the classroom or watch it from home online. Most people do enjoy this because you still get that interactive classroom environment. As well as, being able to catch up on lectures online when you have other commitments such as work during the day. 

Where Can I Study Distance Learning?

There are distance learning institutions all over South Africa. If you want to know more about choosing a distance learning institute and possible options, read our article on distance learning in South Africa.
Bellview Institute is a private distance learning college in South Africa that offers a variety of accredited career development courses. We are registered by the DHET and are allowed to over the full range of ICB courses and our personally selected NATED courses.
Our incredible staff are always there to assist and support our students in order for them to gain their qualification and boost their careers.

View our course selection.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us with one of the following ways;

  • Give us a call on our toll-free number 0800 39 00 27
  • Fill out our contact form at the bottom of the page
  • Chat to us on Whatsapp 082 318 8892

Bellview is in this with you
your success is our success!

Author: Kayla Preston
Date Published: 09 September 2020