e Learning – pitfalls and misconceptions!


I’m often asked by delegates considering a distance learning course about the disadvantages. As I see it, there are not ‘disadvantages’ but ‘pitfalls’ or ‘misconceptions’. In my opinion, there are the five key pitfalls when studying a distance learning course….

  1. Thinking it’s ‘the easy option’!

Some believe that studying via distance eLearning is the easy option….it’s not! It requires lots of self-discipline and the ability to work on your own. There will be more research, more reading, more videos to watch, more podcasts to listen to and more activities to try than face-to-face courses. So be prepared….. if you choose distance learning, you will need to focus!

  1. Poor time management

Because distance learning courses are advertised as ‘start when you like’ or ‘study in your own time’, some people take this to mean that they can leave everything to the last minute! Not so with a CIM module! CIM recommends 10 hours per week studying each module, so on a 12 week course that’s 120 hours…. leave that to the last minute and you will struggle to complete the assignment and you’ll have no sleep at all! It’s best if you can find a study centre that provides a structured course, with deadlines to ensure that you keep on track throughout your course.

  1. Not making full use of tutor support!

Tutors are there to help you through the course. They are the ones who will give you direction if you are heading away from the core theme of the task. They also provide invaluable advice on how to improve your work. Statistics show that delegates who make full use of their tutors, achieve higher pass rates. Also, before booking any distance learning course, check on the whereabouts and the availability of your tutor to ensure that you receive the support you need.

  1. Skipping the set activities

The activities in the e-learning programme are there for a good reason….consolidating learning, applying the theory to a real life example or simply checking your understanding of a concept. Don’t be tempted to skip these! A good e-learning programme will not let you progress until you have completed the activities.

  1. Studying in isolation

Yes, you will spend time studying on your own, however, make sure that you ‘virtually’ meet others studying on the course by joining the webinars and joining LinkedIn groups. It’s refreshing to see that others have similar challenges and they can often help you out and improve your motivation.

The Marketers’ Forum runs distance-learning courses for the CIM Certificate and Diploma. They are designed to be exclusive and flexible and fully supported by UK based tutors. Take a look at the TMF website by clicking here to find out more!


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About the Author

Morag Foudy

Morag Foudy

Morag, who has worked for TMF in a number of roles since 2004, is our Head of Professional Courses. Her focus is on new product development, such as the course design for the new CIM qualifications, as well as communications for all our different audiences.

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