Distance learning: Study in the real world

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As our lives move increasingly online, it’s no wonder that more people are deciding to take their studies online too.

Modern living is mobile, global, and it’s changing our behaviours. Individuals are increasingly finding other ways to achieve what they want, their way.

And that’s exactly what one of AAT’s distance learners, Chloe McGuire, is doing.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I’m 22 years old and living in Wiltshire with my family. I was brought up in a little village called Buttermere in the Lake District but have been living in the South West since I was 9. Outside of my studies, you’ll find me blogging on my health and wellness website Nourishing Chloë, in the kitchen creating new meals, singing along to music or with my mum and the deer in my favourite National Trust grounds, Dyrham Park.

What led you to AAT and to decide to study via distance learning?

I never really took myself for a lover of maths at school.

I was naturally quite good at it but it never struck me as something to pursue. I went travelling around the world for 18 months after leaving school, and it was after returning from my trip and doing some basic bookkeeping for my mother’s property business that I decided to look up courses in accounting, which of course led me to AAT.

I never found classroom learning to be effective for me, so I looked into other options and decided distance learning was a positive route.

So I ordered the textbooks and taught myself Level 2, taking exams in a local college as an external student.

What have you found are the main benefits of distance learning?

I’ve been able to study at my own pace and taken the exams when I felt ready, not when I was told to take them.

Accounting was really new to me so I wanted to take Level 2 at the speed at which I felt most comfortable.

I really thrive on studying on my own time frames; I can fit it around my job and study leisurely in the evenings and at weekends. I’ve achieved a high pass rate in each of my Level 2 exams due to studying via distance learning in my own time.

How much support do you get ?

I chose to go down the route of self-teaching myself Level 2 so I had no support from a tutor or employer during my first year of AAT, which I didn’t struggle with at all.

The textbooks covered everything I needed to know, and I utilised all the materials on the AAT website which really helped me to understand something if I became stuck on something from the textbook.

The most support I received was from the most amazing Facebook group called ‘AAT Distance Learning’, where I shared worries or questions; they were quickly resolved from the support and knowledge of fellow members of the group.

Do you think distance learning is becoming more common and accepted as a learning method?

Absolutely, it’s the most realistic way of successful studying now.

I think classroom learning is becoming a dated way of studying as for the most part it simply isn’t practical for people.

Distance learning suits modern people down to the ground as it provides a way to study rather than having to give up working or a day at home with the family or needing to travel to a classroom. It gives people an opportunity to pursue AAT in a way that suits them. I can’t praise it enough.

What would you say to someone considering distance learning?

I think a lot of people’s perception of distance learning is that you’ll be on your own and won’t get the support or help you need, but that really isn’t the case!

There are hundreds of other students with you every step of the way and when you’re able to study at home in the evening with a glass of wine, you can’t beat it!

Find a practical way of studying that suits you:

  • turning off distractions,
  • rewarding a finished chapter of study with a Netflix binge,
  • studying in a café with a hot coffee (my personal favourite and most productive way!).

Your success is really down to how much time and effort you’re willing to put in.

Don’t get me wrong, distance learning requires a lot of self-motivation and pro-activity in getting out the books – if you really want it, you’ll do it.

When you’ve got the hang of it and you’ve got a strong support network around you, you can do nothing but succeed.

Read more on studying with AAT:

Chloe McGuire is an AAT student and health blogger.

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