By Natasha Thomson
If you have never studied online before, you will probably be wondering what it’s like. How do I learn? What do I do if I’m stuck? How can I get feedback on my progress? These are all valid questions and ones that many online learners have asked at the beginning of their online learning journey.
There are a few commonly perceived misconceptions surrounding online learning, that may stem from the olden days of ‘correspondence courses’ – where it seemed that you could almost ‘buy’ a certificate in any qualification. Our online NEBOSH courses are exactly the same as the classroom courses. They have the same content, are assessed in the same way and the same qualification is awarded.
At Astutis, all our online courses are designed and produced by our own in-house team of Learning Designers and Multimedia developers. They have great fun developing characters for the course, and the voiceovers are all Astutis staff too. But it’s not all fun and games; they use their many years of varied experience to design a course that is not just technically correct, but easy to navigate, bright, engaging, interactive and accessible to everyone.
When you are assigned a log-in to your course, you are free to start whenever you are ready. It’s highly recommended to take a good look around at all the different features and familiarise yourself as to where everything is. As a new online learner, you will receive your first email from your tutor within a week of signing up, providing you with contact details and information about the course.
There are a few key things to get you through online studying:
This is probably the biggest, single factor that will get you through your online study. Learning online is quite different to being taught in a classroom, with no-one verbally guiding you through a syllabus and asking you questions. With this in mind, it is important to know that you have to come up with a study plan of your own. Working independently can be tough, but it all comes down to planning and working to your own preferred style of learning.
Know your course
Have a look at how the course is structured. The NEBOSH National/International General Certificate (NGC/IGC) follows a syllabus set out by NEBOSH, so it is a good idea to follow this in the order it is presented in. Also, utilise the learning outcomes to structure your study. These provide a brief synopsis of what you should achieve at the end of that section and gives you a good indication of what is ahead. Checking yourself against these at the end is a good revision tool.
Being realistic about how much time you can devote to your studies is also a crucial factor in successful online learning. Use the guided learning hours set against your course, and try to achieve the set amount, or as close to it as possible. NEBOSH recommend 130 hours for the NGC/IGC. You have access to the course for one year, so if you take the whole year to study, this equates to roughly 2.5 hours per week. However, you can complete the course and take exams to suit your own pace.
Think about setting aside a morning of a weekend or an hour per night, but make sure it’s achievable and you have time to catch up if something else comes up.
Another useful tip is to think about where you will study. If you are purely studying online and are not using textbooks or making manual notes, then you are able to use a laptop, tablet or mobile pretty much anywhere (although bear in mind internet connection).
If you prefer to be in a quiet environment, at a desk or table, take this into consideration whilst making your plan. Creating a study plan, with allocated times and topics, is a great way to start and will keep you focused. It may be an idea to work out when you would like to take the exam and use this as a goal. Remember to check the website for the registration deadlines though.
The NGC/IGC offers tutor support should you require it. You can email them to ask anything course related, for example, if you are struggling with certain aspects of the course, or can’t find a way of answering a question.
There are also mock exams and monthly exam questions available that you will receive feedback on. There are discussion forums in place to chat with fellow learners too. Familiarise yourself with these and get involved. In a classroom environment, we naturally chat to one another, swapping topic related anecdotes and asking/answering questions – using an online discussion forum is exactly the same.
All new learners will also be invited to attend an online welcome webinar, where the tutor will familiarise you with the course content and explain the support available.
With over 1000 online learners from all over the world, online learning is fast becoming the preferred choice of those wishing to gain a professional Health and Safety qualification – maybe this is the best option for you too.
Find out more about the NEBOSH Certificate:
UK learners NEBOSH National General Certificate online course.
International learners NEBOSH International General Certificate online course.