Djohn 11:08 10 Mar 04

Four weeks back I signed up for the "Learndirect course". The one advertised along the top of the PCA helproom forum. I've taken the full "Desktop Tutor" course, consisting of 8 modules plus "Touch typing". This will keep my mind occupied for about 7-8 months.

The full course would cost about £450.00 but if you are on a low income or unemployed it's free. Just pop into your local Learndirect centre and sign up then do all your work from home.

The course works through "Flash media" so you do all your coursework on-screen in a live environment, up-load your task/assignments/test. You receive your test papers back by the same media, graded and with comments/encouragement from your Tutor. Your "Personal Tutor" is available by e-mail or phone if you need help.

The course starts right at the basics then leads you through Word/Excel/Access/Powerpoint/Frontpage. If your like me [Self-taught] then you might be surprised how some of the "Easy" questions can trip you up. Did with me anyway, I was slightly embarrassed. :o(

That was with the practise lessons though, so before I submitted any work to my Tutor I made sure I had fully read and understood the questions.

Working correctly with Windows explorer was the one that caught me out because I had rarely used it, instead using drag/drop or right click and copy/paste.

Throughly recommend the course to anyone who would like to learn the basics of "IT" in a structured manner rather than jumping from A to Z then attempting to fill in all the middle bits as you go along.

I am enjoying the course and can do as little or much as I please at any time of day or night. The phone help-line, if your having a problem with a particular piece of work is open 24/7.

Regards. j.

  accord 22:12 10 Mar 04

nice one djohn

its surprising that even though we use our pcs on a daily basis, we dont know everything about everything on the software we use. this will go a long way to resolve that.

Unfortunately, £450 is out of the question and besides, the misses would go mental if i spent that on learndirect.


  Djohn 22:20 10 Mar 04

Hi accord. Yes, it is a good course, fortunately I don't have to pay the full amount as I qualify for a large discount. You don't need to take the full course though and the one I'm doing really does start right at the beginning and is quite basic in some parts.

Through the same centre you can take individual modules on any IT subject at any level from basic through the ECDL to a degree level. This is the page that the link leads to, have a look through what they have to offer. click here

  smudge101 22:44 10 Mar 04

Hi All.
As a learndirect online tutor I can tell you that it is possible to study online from home. If you enrol online the cost is minimal (about £35 if memory serves) as this course is government funded for the most part. The only drawback is you may have to travel some way to your nearest virtual learning centre to sit the exams. Also on the menu over the next few months is the new Clait which includes Mous certification. If you require more info I would be glad to help.

  ch0pper 01:35 11 Mar 04

Does this course teach people how to spell? OR even how to change the spellchecker from US to UK spellings?

I cannot tell you how annoyed I get when faced with people who have apparently taken quite lengthy courses but remain functionally illiterate in proper English as opposed to bastardised (note the lack of Z) American English.

What completion rates apply to these courses? The trouble with home-based learning as opposed to class-based is that so many people give up when the going gets tough. It can be a hassle to have to go to evening classes and things, but the support is invaluable. The OU recognise this by providing group sessions.

Good luck in your travails, Djohn.

  Djohn 02:12 12 Mar 04

Thank you ch0pper. Yes, it is harder to set and stick to a time schedule when doing a course from home but the benefit of being able to choose a time to suit makes up for this.

There is also the choice to use the Learndirect centre itself as well, meet other like minded people and have one-to-one tuition from the tutors there. My centre is less than five minutes from me and is open until 8pm equipped with modern PC's and large TFT monitors.

I'm not sure as to the completion statistics but will ask next time I'm passing the centre. They do set a completion date when you first enrol and in my case they have given me 12 months but I feel I can reduce this to around 8 months, a little less with luck.

Regards. j.

  Sir Radfordin 08:35 12 Mar 04

Even when working with the spell checker set to UK spellings MS Word doesn't question the use of Z instead of S in words - or at least my version of Word doesn't.

Just because people take a lengthy course in something doesn't mean they are going to have an amazing grasp of the English language, and I don't see the problem anyway. You can talk to me all your likes about nouns, verbs, spelling and punctuation but it will mean very little. That however hasn't stoped me from successfully compleating 3 years of a degree at a high level or getting good employmemnt.

Apprently the average employee spends 38 minutes a day fixing their own and other peoples IT problems. Doing a course like the one mentioned here of the ECDL gives them the skill to resolve most of these (~80%) quickly. I've never had any training in things like Word and so people who are far less 'computer able' than I am are able to teach me things on a daily basis.

No one style of learning will suit everyone and so people should be encouraged to find one that they can learn best from.

  smudge101 08:50 12 Mar 04

With ref to Ch0pper's post
The completion rates for online learners is very high. Due in part to them having the motivation to complete in the first place and also the fact that they have access to support tutors by email, messageboards and on the phone.
People who have a negative approach tend not to complete their course. This of course also applies to 'mainstream' education.

  smudge101 08:53 12 Mar 04

Well done Djohn. Stick with it and you will get your ECDL qualification.

  Djohn 18:41 12 Mar 04

Thank you smudge101 Very kind of you. I have up-loaded 12 exercises 4 task and 4 assignments to date and each one is marked at 100% so I'm very pleased with my results so far.

Of course now that I will be moving into areas that I have slight knowledge of, Correct presentation in "Word" and then on to applications that I have not used at all. Access/Powerpoint/Web design I'm sure my results will be lower.

I intend to do my best though and know that beside the Learndirect course itself I also have access to excellent knowledge and advice from the members of this forum.

I'll tick the thread now hoping that this information has stirred someone else to have a go at these excellent courses. j.

  powerless 20:07 12 Mar 04

Someone is gonna get a page in PCA?

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