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Review of "Learndirect"

published 10/03/2004 | werewolf
Member since : 13/10/2001
Reviews : 114
Members who trust : 32
About me :
My dad and I (115) - 1985 doing a Women's Fun Run.
Pro well qualified lecturers, but able to do in own time
Cons not enough nights available for pupils, usually overbooked
very helpful

"kaizen - lifelong learning WAS easy to do"

and it still is, but only if you are unemployed, on benefits, or do not have qualifications - see update at the end.

I have been a member of Learndirect for nearly 2 years and have completed the following courses, with the brand names/types of course in brackets:-

IT1 Desktop Publishing (NEC 2000)

Intro to Spreadsheets – Microsoft Excel (NEC)

IT2 Spreadsheets using Microsoft Excel (NetG)

Presenting Information Advanced Microsoft Powerpoint 97 (EP)

Presenting Information Expert (NetG)

Web Publishing Advanced 2000 Microsoft Frontpage (NetG)

Web Publishing Expert 2000 (NetG)

Intro to the Internet (EP)

Using the Internet Advanced IE4 (EP)

Using Computers Advanced Microsoft 95 (EP)

The type of online courses include EP (or electronic paper) and NetG and these course are completed on the learndirect.co.uk website and as such can be completed at home, if you have access to the internet.

The NEC courses are based on literature sent to your home address and this literature includes a CDrom and a book, which you can keep. The book has the course details in it, with useful exercises to do, more information and try it yourself type of exercise. This course type can also be done at home as the examples need for the exercises are all on the CDrom (with some answer models, too).

As the book contains helpful information on the topic and you may need to refer to it again, it is very useful that each person is issued with their own personal copy. I now have two of these and they are extremely handy resources to keep near my home computer!

With the NEC courses there are 3 consolidation exercises (contained within the book sent to you) and 3 consolidation assignments to do. The assignments are given to you by the tutor at the course and as such can only be done at the class.

My usual class is on a Monday evening (but each centre is different) and at my centre it is possible to go during the day and evening most days at various session times which are usually two hours long (eg 5-7pm, 7-9pm, etc).

My centre also has specific classes for Maths and English. I have not used these so cannot comment.

If you are doing an online course, you should have an online tutor for help when you are doing the course at home, but I have never used this resource as I only find time to do the courses at class and there is a tutor there to ask for assistance.

Learndirect students also get their own email account, which is used for the email courses, if you do not already have access to another email setup. This is limited email access as the amount you can receive is small so anyone sending you a big attachment can block your email account. It is useful for beginners though.

As you are only allowed 1 hour on the computer before having a break, a break halfway is usually structured into the class. At my centre (Clay Cross) we are able to purchase drinks and snacks.

I really enjoy my Learndirect courses and miss it during the holidays. As most of the courses, I have completed are online courses, I can do some of it at home but I am not very disciplined and that's why I prefer the classes. As there are others to ask for tips, advices, etc and they keep your morale up.

If you are doing a course which Learndirect has sent literature out for (eg IT1 Desktop Publishing (NEC 2000)) you can do the course at home - provided your computer has the appropriate software in the example above you need Microsoft Word 95 or higher

I would like to try some non-computer courses in the future so I have read literature on theses (see below). I intended to try the Family History course which is £15, but most courses WERE free. Most courses provide free literature,too. They now vary from free (see update below) to over £100, dependent on qualifications, no of hours working, or if on benefits.

As part of my Desktop publishing course I had to evaluate several leaflets so I compared some learndirect literature of courses that I have not tried but would possibly like to, which is displayed below:

Learndirect leaflet – Having trouble starting saving?

Page size/shape
This leaflet is designed to encourage people to join Learndirect, whilst learning how to budget, save and learn how to cope with common financial problems in a fun way.

It is a single sheet of paper folded concertina style, with full colour cartoon style characters asking a single question about finances, in a comic bubble.

The logo and tag line have been inserted in the bottom right on most of the pages of the document. More information is available on the back of the document, including the website address, national and local telephone numbers, the local Learn Direct centre’s address.

The logos are repeated so there is no mistaking the company running the course.
The centre of the document has a small explanation of the course available – in this case Cash Crescent, with a tag line “Cash Crescent could be right up your street”.

Cash Crescent is a free course, where the students help the street’s residents solve their money worries and learn how to open and manage bank accounts, set financial goals, and getting best value when shopping. The leaflet maintains the “street scene” with a brick wall behind the course explanation.

The font of the text is rather large and only one picture/question is on each folded side – this is to show how easy it would be to follow the document. The characters are residents of the street and even include a man and his dog who between them state “Whatever your financial worries this could be right up your street.”

Space is created at the bottom of the document with an orange line dividing the pictures from the Learn Direct logo and tag lines.

Learndirect leaflet B – 2 new courses available (Relative Strangers (a family history course) and Using Percentages (a maths course)

Page size/shape
The above leaflet is an A4 single sheet with information on one side only. It is in the portrait (not landscape) view frame. The leaflet is designed to interest people already using the centre to choose new and specialist courses.

The Learndirect icon is on the top right of the page and the trademark. There are also watermark images, which seem to be like archery targets, which convey the image of hitting the right target on these courses.

There is not much text – despite the size of the leaflet as there are 2 large pictures to the right of the text as well as the watermark images.

The text gives enough information to help a person decide if they might be interested in “Relative Strangers” and “Using Percentages”, with prices and a suggested duration time for the former.

The font of the text is not large – about 14pt and it is in a serif font in a paragraph format, well spaced out and designed, with beginners in mind (as the text explains). The headings are in bold to differentiate between the two courses.

There is a lot of space around the text to allow the reader to scan the page quickly – it is designed to appeal to people using the facility who may pick it up on their way in or out of the building – who have little time to waste reading reams.

Learndirect have now started to charge for their courses, which you might agree is probably a good idea. However, if you (as I do) work full time, have some qualifications and am not on any benefits you have to pay through the nose.

One course type (IT3, which is more advanced) started at £77.04, which had to be paid IN ADVANCE of you starting the course and in cash or by cheque - could not accept credit cards.

Another which I was initially interested in, cost over £100 and that was just one module (equivalent of the European Computer Driving Licence modules). As these course only last approx 120 hours, it is not very good value and I have ceased to go to Learndirect. I will now have to find an alternative way of continuing my Learning.

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Comments on this review

  • bistro published 23/09/2004
    What a shame it's so expensive for some people!! Mandy.xx
  • purplelynne published 20/08/2004
    This is a good idea, for busy people. Lynne x
  • jo145 published 19/08/2004
    May be this is worth taking a look at. Jo
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Product Information : Learndirect

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Listed on Ciao since: 30/08/2002