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Review of "learndirect.co.uk"

published 12/05/2016 | BrutalHonesty91
Member since : 28/04/2016
Reviews : 53
Members who trust : 28
About me :
Apologies for my absence, life is hectic again and I'm trying very hard to stay afloat! Thank you so much for my diamond <3 all r/r/c's reciprocated x
Super
Pro Learn in your own time, bursting with info
Cons Customer Service, Little support
exceptional

"Educated further and definitely returning for more."

learndirect.co.uk

learndirect.co.uk

I am now three quarters of the way through completing a bundle of four courses on learndirect.co.uk which I originally purchased via a Groupon offer. The four course bundle revolved around Sage, a computer software program which facilitates double entry book-keeping. Without over complicating the matter and bogging you down in unecessary information, double entry book keeping is a type of financial management which operates on the rule that every transaction will always effect two accounts.

Many small and mid-sized businesses use Sage software and the program offers a variety of services and functions, such as allowing the user to manage their own accounts, record stock levels, create customer and supplier records and even assists in the compilation and submission of the arduous task of the company VAT return.

The learndirect bundle I purchased revolved around Sage training and proficiency and was composed of four entirely seperate courses, all filled with an average of 20 modules.

The courses included were:
Sage Line 50 Accounts,
Sage Instant Accounts,
Sage Book-Keeping 1,
Sage Book-Keeping 2.

I would like to write a balanced and fair review so I will be giving you an outline of all the positive points I have found followed by a list of any negatives or potential issues, as well as my overall opinion. All of my observations are as a result of using learndirect.co.uk for the aforementioned courses only, therefore my experiences and any limitations I have found may not be applicable to other courses and services the website offers.

Level of Computer Literacy Required

Very little/low level basics - how to turn on the computer, start an internet program such as Google Chrome, navigate to a web address and login. Aside this, it genuinely is mainly clicking with a very minimal amount of typing.

Getting Started

First thing is first; registration and sign up. As a result of buying this via Groupon I had a code I had to input, but I found the entire process quick, straight-forward and easily navigable, with the website seeming both professional and user friendly.
All four courses have a completion date exactly one calendar year in front of the date of activation, meaning this allows you the freedom to complete this course at your own pace. The expiration date is clearly displayed each time you log in before you select the relevant course which is also a useful prompting tool and helps you keep track of how much time you have left at any stage.

I have found the three courses I have commenced so far to all begin with what can be described as a short module full of instructional information and arrows clearly pointing to the different features and navigational points displayed on the course pages and providing elaboration on their uses. I would like to say that even someone with a very limited level of computer literacy could sail through these courses in my opinion.

The Slightly Technical Part

The background throughout is white with a green banner to the top of the page with all text in black or (very occasionally) red and screen shots of the software itself on most screens. I found the format was clear and the appearance pleasant, if very bare. This in my opinion was useful, as it meant your entire focus was on the content, not advertisements or other items on the page.

You have the option for audio guidance throughout the courses, with a clear, accent-neutral female voice reading the content of all pages which may mean this course is somewhat more accessible for those who find reading difficult or time consuming.

The course is seperated into modules and topics which are comprised of many individual pages. No page has too much information, which I found meant I didn't feel at any point overwhelmed and felt I was constantly delivered easily digestable portions of information. In this respect especially, I personally felt the course was brilliantly formatted, although sometimes one page for just a line or two of text seemed slighty excessive.

Throughout the courses, pages sporadically also feature interactive representations of Sage software, with an exact replica of how the program screen would look and step by step instructions guiding you through useage, navigation and data entry. I felt this was invaluable and massive plus point, as this feature means that you could comfortably understand and complete this course even without prior knowledge of the software or any understanding of its appearance.

I am a proficient user but have never gained any formal certificates or qualifications and feel they look nice within a resume, but nevertheless, I feel that had I never used Sage before, my inexperience would have in no way hindered this experience or the educational standard of the course.

Content

From start to finish, I found the course material to be clear and concise whilst simultaneously bursting with information and hints and tips. The informational content spanned not just the course software but multiple other aspects of accounting and book keeping, for example Government Scale Fuel Charges or VAT schemes.

I already consider myself to be a proficient Sage user and chose to pursue this course so that I had some form of paper qualification in order to better display my skills to potential employers but despite this found a wealth of knowledge on extra functions I was not aware of and shortcut keys making lengthy processes less time consuming. I have a substantial amount of real world experience of the software under my belt and therefore would recommend this course to even a long time user due to the amount of untapped hints and tips delivered within.

One criticism I must raise is that I found the content somewhat repetitive across all four courses, with some topic content almost identical to the extent of being not far off word for word. In the interest of fairness however, the different versions of software and the practical functions they are designed to perform are almost the same with very little deviation; any deviation in software of function was noted and elaborated on efficiently in my opinion. Also, this information would need to be duplicated in all courses in case a student chose to complete one individually as opposed to within the bundle of four.

Grading

Throughout the courses there are tests at the end of each module, varying in length between 5 and 20 questions, most of which are multiple choice or true/false options. On completion of each test you will receive your score as a percentage and will be given the option of reviewing your answers as well as retaking the test.

At the end of each course there is also a final exam type test, bursting with the same kind of questions but usually between 30 and 50 questions long. On completion of this you will be given the same options to review your answers or retake the test, however you will not be able to complete the course and therefore gain your qualification without obtaining 100%. You are able to retake the test as many times as necessary, so don't panic about this; I can also assure you that the information contained within the course will be more than enough to see you through with the 100% product knowledge you need.

I found the option to review your answers a fantastically useful tool which I would highly recommend utilising. This will literally show you your incorrect answers as well as the answers you should have given and is therefore ideal for helping identify any gaps in your knowledge and areas on which you may need to revise further, whilst showing you just how proficient you are within other topics.

Customer Service

At one stage, I found the 18th page within the final test of the Sage 50 Course was entirely blank with no content whatsoever. Despite reloading this on both Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox, the page was still the same. I completed the entire examination bar this blank page however the system interpreted this as me not completing the test and therefore did not issue me a certificate and did not register as me completing the course.

Due to this I had to contact customer services in order to report the issue and obtain my certification which leads me to some of my only criticisms overall. I contacted learndirect via telephone as I felt it would be quicker and much easier to explain than typing out a lengthy explanation via email and awaiting a response. I found the 'Contact Us' number quickly and my waiting time was short.

The adviser I got through to sadly wasn't as helpful as I'd have liked although he was polite. I had to repeatedly explain the issue meaning the conversation was very lengthy, and a query I felt should have taken no more than 15 minutes took well over 40. He assured me he would verify that I had completed every other aspect of the course and then issue me the certificate of completion via email by the end of the day.

The end of the day came and went with no email. I waited patiently the next day and received an email and the certificate shortly before the end of business hours. I was disappointed to find however that the certificate of completion looked nothing like the others I had received for the courses and had no footer, header or company logo. It really did look as though I'd made it on Microsoft Word and I wouldn't have dreamed of presenting it to any employer as a result of its far less than professional appearance.

Two emails and one phone call later, I received a certificate of completion which looked exactly as it should and which I was more than pleased with. The customer service experience was far from ideal but as previously stated, I did feel the advisers were polite, if maybe somewhat ill equipped.

Pricing

At present (May 2016) the ecourses are individually priced at £75 each when purchasing through Learndirect, although I was fortunate enough to buy my four course bundle for the bargain price of £59 via Groupon. Both Groupon and Wowcher regularly offer limited time discounts on educational courses of many different genres via a diverse range of providers and I would therefore always advise checking these websites before making any purchases. If there is nothing available when you look, please don't be disheartened. Offers change daily and I'm sure something will catch your eye in no time.

Further to this websites such as topcashback.co.uk offer varying rates of cashback and sometimes other incentives when clicking through to the website on which you will make your purchase via visiting them first. I am unsure of whether topcashback has any offer on at present with learndirect but this would be worth checking.

Qualifications/Relevance

The certificates are nicely presented and are clearly marked as being awarded by learndirect, which to me is a well known and reputable company. The overall appearance is professional and clear with the topic in which you have achieved your certificate clearly displayed alongside your full name.

Although the ecourses are run in conjunction with SAGE and at the end of the course you will be invited to complete a questionnaire on your level of satisfaction (questionnaire also by SAGE) none of the certificates bear any kind of mark showing SAGE accreditation or SAGE approval of the qualification. I found this somewhat disappointing, as well as the fact that the certificate was actually a 'Certificate of Completion' for the Sage Ecourses, as opposed to any kind of certificate of proficiency.

My overall opinion however is that the certificate would be an impressive addition to any CV and is a brilliant practical example of your skills to a potential employer. Aside the certificate, the level of knowledge of proficiency within Sage software that these courses will equip you with is more than enough to develop a practical and in depth working knowledge of the software, enough so to explore a job within this remit or consider managing your own business accounts using a Sage software package. I felt that the content was of fantastic importance and relevance without bogging the student down in any irrelevant factors.

Overall Observations & Conclusion

After completing three of the courses and embarking on my fourth and final (for now) I would be more than happy to recommend learndirect to anybody potentially considering further education or an upskill in an existing area of education or expertise. The content was of consistently high quality throughout and as mentioned previously was always relevant and full of useful tit bits and helpful tips that even the most competent user may not be aware of.

Although the customer service experience wasn't of 5 star quality and the efficency of this was dubious at stages, my experience overall has been positive enough that I can honestly say that I have confidence I will return to learndirect in the future to potentially continue the educational path I have started, and if the standard of course material is as high as my experiences to date, I will definitely not be disappointed.

©BrutalHonesty91

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Comments on this review

  • jb0077 published 25/05/2016
    nice review
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  • danielalong published 16/05/2016
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Product Information : learndirect.co.uk

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