So something I have ventured into recently is postal courses, although they are similar to online courses they are slightly different, especially motivation-wise. I am loving the courses I am doing right now and would love to give you a few tips and tricks for completing and getting the most out of your courses!
Firstly, postal courses come with a tonne of freedom! Think about it, you are sent materials so you don’t even need home internet access, you get sent the assignments and you send them back via the post as well. There are generally no time restraints on postal courses (well the ones I have done anyway) which means that you can work at your own pace and not worry about meeting hand-ins!
Great if you are juggling a family and a job!
There are a variety of courses available, from GCSE equivalents to full degrees! However I am currently completing two courses through the BSY Group; Crisis and Trauma Counselling and Basic Clinical Sciences, both extremely interesting! They both contain ‘lessons’, these are material packs sent to you via the postal system; along with homework assignments that you complete when you want and pop them back to them in the post (they even send them with handy-dandy envelopes!). However, they both end in an exam- something that really puts people off but you are getting qualifications at the end of these courses, so they have to test you in some way!
When you have no time limits, no restrictions, no expectations of consistency; so how do you manage to keep handing in those assignments?
It is simple, you make it a priority! When I first started (I mean my second assignment!) I fell into the trap of thinking, oh I can do that tomorrow, but listen to these words…
Tomorrow never comes!
You need to sit yourself down- either as soon as your assignments arrive or within a few days- and begin working on them. Some will be easier than others, but you have usually paid for this course; so you have to invest some time into it! Spend time learning the materials like you would a formal course, do more than your assignment and study (especially if there is an exam at the end!).
Time to get yourself organised!
Okay, a key part of motivation comes from your organisation! So here are a few tips:
- Calendars: Write down when you get assignments! Write down when you send them back! See how long you are taking on them and find out why certain assignments or ‘lessons’ took longer than others.
- Planners: Please, please, please, get yourself a planner! Write down details of your assignments. Plan a bit, if that assignment is going to take more than one sitting (and some will!) break the assignments down and work on it piece by piece.
- Your course outline: Now this is vital! Look at it and find out what is coming up. Okay, so if your brand new to the topic then you’re gonna see a few things on the list and think what?! But if you take a bit of time between materials to do a little research (even if it is literally a five minute Google search) then by the time the materials get to you, you will have a little better understanding than you would have had!
- Realistic aims: Okay, so you have a family, you have a job, and perhaps you are studying elsewhere (like me- I do my postal courses alongside my Masters Degree!) don’t aim to get a 12 lesson course done in a month!Firstly take a little time to check how long it takes for materials to get back to you. If it takes a week between each submission them you have a bare minimum time scale to work with. But then remember you have a life, you have commitments, you are not always going to be able to sit down straight away and get the assignment sent off to be returned the same day- sometimes it just ain’t possible folks!
However, I found it extremely motivational to set an end goal, for me; I have two courses of different lengths, one with 10 lessons and one with 12! I roughly gave myself three weeks per lesson, that gives me time to learn the materials, apply the materials, complete the assignment, and to get the assignment to them for marking. Now I am not saying that this will work best for each course, but I found after the first two weeks that it was the ideal timeframe for the courses I am doing!
You don’t have to rush these courses! They don’t have to match what your already doing! They can be totally random! If it is something you are interested in, there will most likely be a course for you!
So there are my few words on postal courses!