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As many of you already know I’m currently on maternity leave and although I expect my baby to take up plenty of time I’m also aware that I might get a little bored since I’ve never been off work for this long. I sat down at the PC one day and searched through google for free courses (I would have loved to do my business studies a-level but that costs money which presently I don’t have.) I came across the vision 2 learn website which offered a range of free recognised home learning courses.
After typing in the area that I live it selected all courses available to me and amongst numerous others I noticed the ‘Emotional Intelligence’ NCFE certificate. I have already completed an NCFE certificate through work in equality and diversity and so know that it is a reputable qualification. I decided, as it was free, that there is no harm in giving it a go.
I registered on-line which took a matter of minutes and received a confirmation e-mail almost immediately that detailed all of the units outlined in the course and what I was expected to learn from this course. Two days later I received an enrolment form from my local college and after returning it was sent my password and username within a further 2 days. I received the password and username by both e-mail and post which I thought was very efficient.
All of the learning materials needed are supplied on-line and the website is very easy to navigate. There is a user manual which you are advised to read through before progressing with your course. It took me about half an hour to read through the guide and, providing you’re semi- computer literate it is very easy to use.
You are allocated a tutor based at your local college and my tutor sent me a welcome e-mail asking me to answer a few basic questions so that he could put together a learning plan specifically designed to my needs. 3 hours after logging on for the first time I had received my Individual learner plan. Depending on how many hours you are able to put in per week and what suits you best you can do this course in 12 months or less. My plan sets out that I will finish by April 2005 which is ideal for me as I return to work in May. If you are not happy with your plan or feel it needs adapting slightly you can just e-mail/v-mail your tutor to let them know and they will revise it. The plan is only a guideline as to what dates you complete each assessment by and so you won’t be failed for not reaching target dates (although it is best to inform your tutor of any reason you won’t be working for a while or will be unable to reach a target date by.)
V-Mail is the website based e-mail service provided by vision 2 learn for you to contact your tutor, other course users or vision 2 learn themselves. Your tutor will give you his/her direct e-mail address but they prefer you to contact them through this and it is very easy to use. Again how to use it is covered in the manual but it is very similar to using Microsoft Outlook. You can attach documents and create folders to archive old v-mails and basically manage your own account as you would with any other e-mail service. You will be informed if you have any new messages when you log on to your ‘My Study’ page (see below).
MY STUDY PAGE
When you log in to Vision 2 learn it takes you to your own study area where you can view which assessments you have started and use this page to submit your assessments to your tutor. Once an assessment has been submitted it will disappear from your ‘My Study’ page. Your assessment will be returned to you with feedback and any further work required (if any) to your v-mail account. This promises to be done within 10 days but so far all of my completed assessments and feedback have been returned to me within 3 days or less. Obviously this depends on how efficient/busy your tutor is.
From this page you can access all of your course material by clicking on the link at the left hand side of the page. Depending on what course you are doing you can view your course materials by clicking on the appropriate unit and assessment section.
You can also access your profile whereby you can change your contact details or personal information.
You can view all other people taking the same course as you and can send them V-mails which proves very useful if you need to discuss something course related, obviously it is a home based course so it is a very useful tool being able to contact others who may be able to help you with any queries.
FAQ’s There is also a link entitled, any questions?, which takes you to FAQ’s and details of all the courses provided through Vision 2 Learn. You can only have one course in progress at any time but your tutor will also help you to identify any other courses that may suit your needs.
CAFÉ This is a group forum area where you can discuss different topics with other learners; unfortunately I didn’t get to use it as it has been under construction since I started my course.
NOTEPAD There is an on-line notepad that you can use to write any notes about the course material. All notes can be saved and stored but you should be aware that your tutor can read your notes at any time.
JOURNAL The journal is similar to the notepad but recommended more to note your feelings/thoughts on your progress; you make journal entries by clicking on a specific day on your calendar and then typing away. Again your tutor can view your journal entries. You cannot make journal entries for future dates, only past and present.
WHAT YOU NEED
Throughout the course you are advised to keep copies of all of your assessments in a portfolio as evidence of the work you have completed. I used an A4 folder, dividers to split it into units and plastic wallets to keep my work neat and tidy. All in all this cost me about £5 which can’t be snuffed at considering you are improving your skills and your CV. Your computer must have Microsoft Word and Internet Explorer however all of the system requirements are explained to you on signing up so that you don’t sign up without the necessary information.
BEWARE When you first log on with your username and password you will be asked to read and sign the terms and conditions. Amongst all the usual jargon in the terms it tells you that if you do not complete the course then you may be charged the costs of setting up your placement. I would advise that you only go ahead with this if you feel you have the time and are looking to see it through to the end.
Also some courses have an exam at the end of them and so you will need to make sure you can attend the college where the exam will be held.
As I’ve mentioned all course material is supplied on-line through Vision 2 Learn. The variety and type of course material that you will need depends entirely on which course you chose to take part in. For the Emotional Intelligence course there were small tasks to carry out, mini- quizzes, weekly action plans/logs and then your course assessments. The majority of assessments are 250 words long so don’t take a massive amount out of your time providing you know what you writing about. You can re-access any unit at any time, even after you have completed it, to read through the material and you can also print it off if you prefer to read it in this manner. I alternated as sometimes my neck was hurting from being on the PC too long so I’d print a bit of work off.
OTHER COURSES As I’ve already said, I chose to complete the course in ‘Advancing your career with Emotional Intelligence’. This is in the Personal Development Section. There are numerous courses available under 4 sections however the best variety of courses comes under the personal development section. I have listed a couple of the courses below but will not go through them all, if you want more information then just visit the website:
Personal Development- Practical Problem Solving, Succeeding at Work. Business Development- Call Centre Skills, Entrepreneurship Information Technology- First Steps in IT, Next Steps in IT Sport and Leisure- Essential Sports Coaching skills, Healthy Living
All course information is available at www.vision2learn.com
I am really pleased with how this course has turned out so far and feel that Vision 2 learn have provided an easy to use website and e-mail system with little room for improvement. My tutor support has been quick and efficient and I have had no problems contacting my tutor when I’ve needed to. I feel that I was fully informed about the commitment I was undertaking right from the outset and Vision 2 Learn kept me up to date with how my registration was going throughout the process. All correspondence has been very professional and easy to understand.
I will definitely consider doing a further course with Vision 2 Learn, even when I return to work, as I feel that the support and ease of the course material has been outstanding. I have completed home based learning courses in the past, one with ICS and one with my work and neither have been as user friendly as this service. As long as you know the basics of using a PC (which you obviously do if you are reading this review) you should be fine and if your not then your tutor and vision 2 learn are easy to contact and there to help you. Monitoring your progress is easy and as long as you can motivate yourself to complete the assessments then a Vision 2 Learn course is definitely for you.
I hope anyone looking to develop their career or themselves for personal gain takes a look at this site and seriously considers doing a course through them as they have made it very easy for the learner.
Ive been looking at doing this course for a few weeks, but wasnt sure! You've put my mind at rest. Fantastic review! xx
jacpuss 17.08.2005 23:17
never heard of this site before either! good all rounder review,plenty of good knowledge in there. lol jacquie xxxx
LeeroyBrown 06.07.2005 01:03
The second "E" of the day. This is a great review and something I have thought about for a long time but just never done it. I will have a look at the site at the weekend. Thank you very much. Leeroy ~Onwards and Upwards~