Learning for Life - The changing perception of learning .

Our Principal, John Mason, recently said,


“ When I originally studied, I was told that a three year full time diploma gave me a foundation – sufficient to do the lowest work in my field, and that I would then need to learn hands on and gain experience for several years before I was fully trained.”


Has this perception of learning changed today?
There is the idea that people take a course, come to the end and they have “finished.” They may be qualified to be something, a doctor, a nurse, a horticulturalist, a psychologist, a life coach.  But is life really like that anymore?
We hear a lot about lifelong learning today. Learning does not stop when we leave school, college or university. Learning continues throughout our lives today as we get older, for a number of reasons –

  • People change jobs more often
  • People seek promotion
  • People have more than one career during their working lives
  • More people study for interest and hobbies

This means that people tend to study more during their lives. They do not stop studying as soon as they leave full time education.
This means that there is not an end to learning. It is just the way that we learn changes.

The Way of Learning
For most people, we study at school, college or university, then head off into the world of work.  After full time studying, we may study in a number of different ways –

  • Training schemes
  • On the job training
  • Further university or college studies
  • Self-study courses
  • Studying by online or distance learning

Online and distance learning have become increasingly popular in recent years, because –

  • It is often self-paced
  • Flexible studying
  • People can study where they want to
  • They can study when they want to
  • There are a wide range of online courses available that may be hard to access in a traditional, physical college or university.

Complete Training
Students may tend to study throughout their life. They want to improve their knowledge, expand their knowledge or gain new knowledge for a new career.  The perception of education has therefore changed.
A course is something we start and finish.  
Education is not. Education is something we do from the minute we are born, and hopefully until the moment we die. Every experience we have in our daily lives is part of our education.
Formal education is education where we study, when we want to formally increase and improve our knowledge, which usually involves taking a course or courses.
A course is not necessarily the end either. A course can be a preparation for a new job, a new career, a new interest. 


John says,

“In such a rapidly changing world, courses should be viewed as just one part of job preparation

- giving a broad foundation - if you like,taking students part way toward toing the job....

then other things take them the remaining distance.”


Therefore, a course prepares people to do a new job, to gain promotion, to change careers, but it does not take a student the full way. A course is the starting point.  We must continue to have new experiences, new learning opportunities to improve our overall education and job prospects.


John Mason originally trained as a horticulturalist before setting up ACS Distance Education, so let’s use horticulture as an example.
A course in horticulture may train you to recognise 100 plants and weeds, where to plant them and how.  There are far more than 100 plants and weeds in the world, so the course gives you a starting point. A way to recognise some plants and learn how to find out about other species of plants. It gives you knowledge, but also research skills and information on how to find out more.  


  •  You might then choose to undertake further studies.
  • Gain on the job training
  • Do your own research and gain more information


A good course, therefore, should be a starting point –

  •   To encourage you to learn more
  •  To help you develop the skills to find out more, eg. Research skills
  • To develop your problem solving skills
  • To give you a stepping point to further studies or a job

As John said, the world is rapidly changing. A course is a starting point to –

  • A new job
  •   A new career
  • A new hobby

But it is also a starting point to developing other skills, such as –

  • Research skills
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Time management
  • Self-discipline
  • Independent study
  • Further study

Therefore, learning is not something that starts and finishes,

but something that continues throughout our lifetime.  


If you are interested in undertaking further studying or learning, why not have a look at our courses. We offer a wide range of courses to help you to –
•    Develop new skills
•    Potentially gain promotion or a new job
•    Improve your knowledge
•    Start a new hobby or interest 
•    Improve your skills

Contact us to find out more about just what we offer.    You will be surprised as just how many courses we offer.   We think there is something for everyone!


Remember learning is for life     ….. And life is about learning.


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