GDL Distance Learning Courses – Are They A Good Idea?
Doing the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) via distance learning is another choice if you don’t want to go into college / university every day.
Doing it this way may be the best option for you, both in terms of logistics and finance.
Is a distance learning GDL a good idea for you or not?
What is distance learning?
Doing a distance course you will do practically all of your learning online and by reading relevant text books. The online resources provided will be lectures and notes either in document format, presentation format, via podcasts, or by videos. You will sit the same exams as normal students but there will be more convenient exam venues (hopefully) located closer to you.
However your course provider may ask you to travel to their location and take the final exams. This would require spending time in a hotel or other accommodation. You should ask the course offerer about exam location as it will differ with each GDL provider. The bottom line is that upon course competition you will have a qualifying law degree.
GDL distance learning benefits
If you would need to relocate in order to complete the GDL then doing a distance learning law degree could save you loads of money (especially if you’re doing it from overseas). Moving to another part of the UK, paying for accommodation and associated living costs can be very expensive; especially if you needed to move to London. It’s also great if you have family commitments and need to stay at home.
Also (again depending on institution) you should get your own tutor who you can speak to. You can ask them questions or seek clarification over areas of law. Technology is being used more and more to help distance education, skype for example is a great way to stay in contact with tutors. So the experience and knowledge you get should be as good as doing the course on location.
Perhaps the most attractive element of distance learning is the way you can work to your own schedule and work the course around your life. The down site of this is that it’s 100% down to you to stay motivated. If you start to fall behind, or get lazy, it could result in a fail.
What will employers think of a distance learning degree?
The Graduate Diploma in Law done by distance learning counts for exactly the same amount as if it was done at law school. They are both qualifying law degrees which take lots of effort, dedication and talent to pass. However, some employers may have a wrong impression of distance learning.
We have all seen the “get a UK law degree online!” adverts on less than reputable websites. These degrees are nothing more than scams. You don’t even sit exams for them and they count for nothing. Unfortunately this may leave a wrong impression with some people who think a distance learning GDL qualification is a similar sort of thing.
Employers who think this are wrong, but to be on the safe side you don’t need to tell them that you did the degree via distance learning. Simply say that you have completed the GDL course on your training contract application. There is no need to go into more detail than that.
GDL Distance learning providers
As far as we know the following institutions do the GDL via distance learning. This is not an exhaustive list:
- BPP Law School
- College of Law
- Kaplan Law School
- Northumbria University
- Nottingham Trent University
- De Montford University
- Hertfordshire University
- Staffordshire University
- Huddersfield Univeristy
You should ask for a detailed information pack from the course provider you’re interested in. This way you can see what the fees and costs are, and whether you can take exams closer to home. Also you can learn about the extent of interaction you will get with tutors and lecturers.