Twelve tips for potential distance learners

Med Teach. 2001 Jan;23(1):12-15. doi: 10.1080/0142159002005523.


Distance learning courses are becoming popular among medical professionals due to their flexibility, allowing minimal disruption to personal and professional commitments. The ability to continue professional duties, allied to the reduced cost of distance learning courses, also makes them attractive to institutions looking to develop the skills of their staff. However the nature of distance learning courses means that they are often of long duration and many students fail to maintain motivation while working in isolation. This is reflected by high non-completion rates. This article outlines issues that all students planning a distance learning course should consider, relating to choice of course, time management, funding and adjusting to the different nature of distance learning. The authors advise developing a support network for distance learning students, either in person or electronically, to increase motivation and completion.