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Session 1

Student Life 1 – Choosing distance learning

Welcome to Go The Distance – our new course all about distance learning. This is the first in our video series 'Student Life'. In each episode, we'll meet a genuine distance learner and see them at work, rest and play. Each student talks about a particular aspect of distance learning. Let's meet the first student – Olivier – and find out why he chose distance learning!

Sessions in this unit

Session 1 score

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    Activity 1

Activity 1

Why choose a distance learning course?

Olivier is a student from France. He's studying for an MBA via distance learning. You probably know that distance learning is not the same as face-to-face learning. But have you thought about the possible benefits of choosing this method of study?

Scroll down to find out why Olivier decided to study for his qualification by distance learning.

Marketer, husband, father – and MBA student

Go The Distance: Student life - Olivier

We asked Olivier about his life, his work, and his distance learning experience. Watch the video to find out what he says about combining his studies with work, family life and his leisure activities.

To do

While you watch the video, note down what Olivier says about a) the main difference between distance learning and face-to-face learning and b) the three advantages of distance learning. We'll give you the answers – in an activity – later on this page.


Watch the video

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The family is very important for me. And I want to, to keep that always in my mind - in my head. I live in Plaisir, a small city close to Paris. I live with my wife, my daughter and my son.

I'm a marketer, and I love my job because every day I discover a new field. It's an innovative job, and I enjoy my job.

I play badminton twice a week. It's a new sport for me, but I enjoy this sport. It's not only in the competition you know, it's just friendly atmosphere and I like that. Probably I will be the next president of the club.

I want to – to improve the thing in my private life and in my pro life. If I could improve the thing, I do it.

I've been studying since seven months. I've chosen an MBA program because I want to understand the world. The world is changing a lot. One of my main purpose was to have international accreditation. It was very important to have a European organisation as well.

To find my MBA programme I search two words: 'MBA' and 'distance learning'. I like this MBA program because lots of people come all over the world. We are very far but very close, thanks to distance learning, and it's very nice to, to chat with these people. I'm not a native person, English person so I say "What about my English?" but thanks to internet you know you have lots of tools, translation and so on. It can do many, many things.

The main difference between distance learning and classroom is the price – it's cheaper, it's very, very cheaper than the classroom solution.

The advantage of the distance learning, I think it's: I see three advantages. First of all, it avoids geographical distance. Secondly, we can work autonomously and independently: it's very important. And finally, we can work when we want, where we want and it's the best thing I suppose for, for me and for lots of students.

Every six weeks I have to submit an assignment. And I submit for example, an essay, figures, and finance – it depends on the subject. At the beginning it was a little bit hard. But thanks to my tutor, I feel better. During three years, I'm sure I change at the end of the MBA. I see the world differently than before.

In fact, it's very important to show to my children that you don't study just one time, but you study during all your life, and my son ask to me, "Why do you study again?" I said, "Because the world is like that now. If you want to progress in your career, you have to study again and again."

Go the distance.

How is distance learning different and what are the benefits?

Olivier mentioned one main difference between distance learning and face-to-face-learning. He also talked about three advantages of studying as a distance learner. Did you manage to identify all his points? Check your answers with this activity.

Distance learning: how it's different and what the benefits are

5 Questions

Check you've understood the key points Olivier made about distance learning with these questions

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What we've learned

You've nearly reached the end of this unit. At the bottom of this page you can find links to more useful materials for distance learners – and would-be distance learners!

But before we finish, let's recap what we've learned about distance learning so far.

  • It can be cheaper than face-to-face learning. You don't have to pay travel costs, and course fees are often cheaper.
  • Geographical distance is not a problem. You can study wherever you want!
  • You can work autonomously and independently. You don't have to attend classes at a set time, except for some online sessions.
  • You can work at your own pace. Most distance providers give you plenty of time to complete your studies!

Find out more

There's lots more about Olivier and his distance learning experience that you can see by visiting our partner, The Open University. Click on the link in the 'Where next?' area to find out more.

Where next?

Academic Insights 1 image link  Student Life index image link  Student Life 1 OU image link


Session Vocabulary

  • Find out more about distance learning – visit our partner,The OU