Which course to choose?

22 May 2015

You have now decided to take the first step towards a more fulfilled and improved future. This should be exciting, but often that excitement is tempered by indecision. There are so many choices to make. Where do you start? How do you know you are making the correct choice? Answering the following four key questions will help you to arrive at that choice:

  1. Which discipline do I want to study?
  2. Which institution do I want to study through?
  3. Which mode of delivery do I choose? (face to face, distance learning or mixed mode), and
  4. Which type of course suits my needs?

Pile books FINALIt is not possible to cover all of these areas in great detail within this article, but we will look at the critical areas in brief and will revisit these issues in more detail in future articles.

An important thing to remember is that very few choices will be “wrong choices”. What I mean by that is that all forms of study and learning carries value. An ideal choice for one person will be less ideal for someone else; it all depends on your personal requirements and circumstances.

The first decision you need to take is which discipline to study within. Examples of disciplines are areas such as Marketing, Human Resources and Finance to name just a few. If you are looking for your first job, studying for the first time or considering a change in career, it is important to consider and research your options carefully. You should consider where your interests and natural ability lie, as well as what work you would ultimately like to do. You could also take a more formal approach and see a professional psychologist who would administer psychometric testing and interviewing with the aim of narrowing your career choice. If you do not have the resources to approach a professional, there is also a host of information as well as free resources available online. The choice of discipline is a lot easier if you are already working in a specific area and you would like to enhance your skills and possibly improve your chances of promotion.

 When you have decided on the discipline you would like to study you need to decide on the institution to study through. Whether you decide to complete a short course or a formal qualification, you should ensure that the institution you select is a registered institution with the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET). It is very important to take note that a registered institution may offer both registered qualifications for which it is accredited, as well as short courses that are non-credit bearing.

For more information watch this useful video.
 

When considering which institution to study through you should also explore what mode of learning they subscribe to and what would suit your requirements and circumstances. A face-to-face classroom based mode is familiar to students who have come from a school classroom environment. They feel comfortable with this familiar and supported environment. People who benefit from distance learning are those who have to balance work, family and study commitments and therefore need flexibility and versatility. The distance learning mode doesn’t require them to attend classes at specific times. They are academically supported online and telephonically, and this flexibility allows them to balance their daily demands. Students who don’t have the financial resources to fund face-to-face learning, or those who live in remote regions of our country also benefit from the distance learning mode.

The final decision you need to take is on the type of course. A short course, which is non-credit bearing is a relatively short learning commitment and is an avenue for you to enhance your skills within a limited financial and time commitment. These short courses do not lead to a qualification registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) but they contribute actively to building key skills and will improve your chances of employment, self-employment or promotion. They also present an opportunity of study to students who do not have the required entry requirements for some of the formal qualifications. Short courses are developed by institutions to address specific skills and are internally quality assured to ensure academic integrity and quality of learning outcomes.

Qualifications are formal, nationally recognised programmes registered on the NQF with SAQA. Each module within a qualification is credit-bearing and this means that when you have completed a body of work it carries an associated number of credits. These credits can be accumulated and upon completion of all of the stipulated modules, can lead to a full qualification.

A credit bearing qualification allows you to demonstrate clearly what you have achieved to employers and potential employers, as well as to progress upwards from one completed qualification to another. Your achievement of a qualification will also be uploaded on the National Learners Record Database (NLRD) where employers and recruitment companies will be able to validate your achievements.
For more information watch this informative video.

Once again congratulations on deciding to study! We suggest that you consider the above advice when choosing your course and institution and we hope that this information has helped you.

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Author: Kim Elliott

Editor: Ernst Kriek

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