Why Should I Choose Distance Learning Courses? 

Distance learning has revolutionized the way education is delivered, offering a flexible and convenient alternative to traditional classroom-based learning. With major advancements in technology and the increasing demands of our fast-paced lives, more and more people are turning to distance learning courses. 

Which Courses Are Best For Distance Learning?

Whether you want to earn a higher qualification, redo your matric or simply just love learning. Distance learning has a wide variety of courses you can select from, including the following: 

  • NATED programs 
  • ICB courses
  • Short courses 
  • Matric programmes

NATED Programs 

National Accredited Technical Education Diploma (NATED) courses are accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training. NATED courses are designed to equip students with in-demand skills that will enhance their career prospects. 

The following courses fall under NATED programmes:

  • Financial Management Courses
  • Business Management Courses
  • Marketing Management Courses
  • Educare Courses
  • Legal Secretary Courses
  • Human Resource Management Courses
  • Management Assistant Courses

Financial Management Courses

Financial Management courses are designed to help students thrive in the world of finance. These courses will provide you with the necessary skills in financial management. The courses in this programme include the following:

  1. Financial Management: NATED N4 National Certificate
  2. Financial Management: NATED N5 National Certificate
  3. Financial Management: NATED N6 National Certificate
  4. Financial Management: NATED N6 National Diploma

Business Management Courses

Business Management courses provide students with key skills needed to properly manage a business. The courses in this programme include the following:

  1. Business Management: NATED N4 National Certificate
  2. Business Management: NATED N5 National Certificate
  3. Business Management: NATED N6 National Certificate
  4. Business Management: NATED N6 National Diploma

Marketing Management Courses

Marketing Management courses give students the ability to learn how to market goods and services in a business setting. The courses in this programme include the following:

  1. Marketing Management: NATED N4 National Certificate
  2. Marketing Management: NATED N5 National Certificate
  3. Marketing Management: NATED N6 National Certificate
  4. Marketing Management: NATED N6 National Diploma

Educare Courses

Educare Courses provide aspiring professionals with the skills and knowledge to effectively run and manage preschool institutions. The courses in this programme include the following:

  1. Educare: NATED N4 National Certificate
  2. Educare: NATED N5 National Certificate
  3. Educare: NATED N6 National Certificate
  4. Educare: NATED N6 National Diploma

Legal Secretary Courses

It is not too late to start your professional law career. In this course, you will learn the skills needed to be a legal secretary. The courses in this programme include the following:

  1. Legal Secretary: NATED N4 National Certificate
  2. Legal Secretary: NATED N5 National Certificate
  3. Legal Secretary: NATED N6 National Certificate
  4. Legal Secretary: N6 National Diploma

Human Resource Management Courses

Do you think you have what it takes to employ, train and compensate workers? The Human Resource Management Course will help you do just that! The courses in this programme include the following:

  1. Human Resource Management Courses: NATED N4 National Certificate
  2. Human Resource Management Courses: NATED N5 National Certificate
  3. Human Resource Management Courses: NATED N6 National Certificate
  4. Human Resource Management Courses: NATED N6 National Diploma

Management Assistant Courses

Management Assistant Courses are designed to provide students with proper training to assist managers in the running of a business. The courses in this programme include the following:

  1. Management Assistant: NATED N4 National Certificate
  2. Management Assistant: NATED N5 National Certificate
  3. Management Assistant: NATED N6 National Certificate
  4. Management Assistant: NATED N6 National Diploma

ICB courses

ICB courses are accredited courses designed to provide comprehensive training in accounting and financial management. These courses are specifically designed to provide students with in-demand skills. The Institute of Certified Bookkeepers(ICB) offers the following programmes:

  • Business Management Course
  • Office Administration Course
  • Bookkeeping and Accounting Courses

Business Management Course

The ICB Business Management programme is made up of three study modules, aimed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed in the business sector. The courses in this programme include the following:  

  1. Small Business Financial Management: ICB National Certificate
  2. Office Administration – Business Management: ICB Higher Certificate
  3. Financial Accounting – Business Management: ICB National Diploma

Office Administration Course

The ICB Office Administration programme is made up of three study modules, aimed to provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to pursue a career in administration. The courses in this program include the following:

  1. Office Administration: ICB National Certificate
  2. Office Administration: ICB Higher Certificate
  3. Office Administration: ICB National Diploma

Bookkeeping and Accounting Course

The ICB Bookkeeping and Accounting programme is made up of 4 study modules, aimed to provide students with the knowledge and skills required to succeed in the world of bookkeeping and accounting. The courses in this program include the following:

  1. Bookkeeping: ICB National Certificate
  2. Bookkeeping: ICB FET Certificate
  3. Technical Financial Accounting: ICB National Diploma
  4. Certified Financial Accounting: ICB National Diploma

Short Courses

Looking to learn a new skill without putting your life on pause? Look no further than short courses, designed to provide students with the skills needed to become an entrepreneur or find employment. There is a variety of short courses that you can select from, which are:

  • Management Courses
  • Computer Courses
  • Tourism Courses
  • Beauty Courses
  • Office Management Courses
  • Customer Service Course
  • Child Care and Educare Courses
  • Creative Courses

Matric Programmes

Have you completed your matric? It does not matter. Matric programmes are there for you to finally get that certificate! You can also upgrade or rewrite your matric with the matric programme, which offers three courses.

  • Matric Rewrite is a programme created by the Department of Basic Education also known as the Second Chance Programme. This programme is not only designed to support learners who failed their matric, but also part-time and supplementary learners.
  • Matric Upgrade is a programme designed for students who are not satisfied with their matric results and want to enhance their marks. Through this programme, students have the chance to retake specific subjects to improve their academic performance.
  • Adult Matric, also known as the Amended National Senior Certificate, is designed for students who did not complete their matric. This programme is designed for people over 21 years, who have completed grade 9.

Can I Complete My Matric Via Distance Learning?

Yes, you can, all you have to do is register for the Adult Matric programme mentioned above. Then you are able to register for an upgraded adult matric programme, which you will also do online. You will only be required to be at a physical venue to write your final exams.

Which Colleges Offer Distance Learning In South Africa?

It is important to carefully consider each college before selecting the one that fits you best. Below is a list of accredited FET colleges in South Africa for distance learning programs:

  • Bellview Institute of Distance Learning
  • Matric College
  • Skills Academy

Bellview Institute Of Distance Learning

Bellview Institute of Distance Learning is a premier distance college, providing high-quality accredited qualifications to individuals. The institute aims to provide high-quality education to all students regardless of their age, background, or experience.  

Matric College

Matric College is an accredited college designed for students who wish to get or improve their matric. The aim of matric college is to provide an alternative to traditional education that caters to the needs of every individual. 

Skills Academy

Skills Academy is an accredited college in South Africa with a goal to provide quality education at an affordable cost. The institution aims to eliminate factors preventing certain individuals from furthering their education, such as tuition fees and transport costs.

Are Distance Learning Courses Recognised In South Africa? 

Yes, distance learning courses are recognised, nationally and internationally. Students are able to get employment with qualifications obtained through distance learning. According to a study done by CNN, 83% of executives say that an online degree is as credible as one earned through a traditional program. 

What Is Online Distance Learning?

Distance learning can be described as any form of education where teachers and students do not have to be physically present. All learning and teaching in distance learning is done remotely. 

With the help of technology, distance learning programmes are able to provide students with intimate and effective learning opportunities.

Is Distance Learning The Same As Online Learning?

No, although both methods use laptops and other electronic devices, they are not the same. With online learning, students can all be in a classroom while going through their digital lessons and tasks. Distance learning gives students the luxury of doing everything online and remotely.

What Are The Differences Between Distance Learning And Regular Learning?

Now that you know the differences between distance learning and online learning, let us take a look at some of the key differences that make distance learning a more attractive option than regular learning.

Distance Learning Regular Learning

Remote learning

Regular class attendance

Study materials delivered to you

Purchase your own study material

Students can work and study full-time

Ability to work and study if you are a part-time student.

Is Distance Learning Better Than Classroom Regular Learning?

Yes, as seen from the table above, distance learning offers a unique approach to education compared to traditional learning methods. However, it is crucial to carefully evaluate your individual circumstances before making a decision, considering the benefits of both methods.

Is Distance Learning A Good Option For Students? 

Yes, distance learning is a good option for most students. If you have a full-time job or family obligations, distance learning can help you balance work and life. With distance learning, you can learn at your own pace while keeping up with the responsibilities of everyday life.

How Do Distance Learning Courses Work?

Although distance learning has grown tremendously over the years, people seem to still be asking, “How does it work?”

  1. Course Selection: Choose the course that aligns with your interests and career goals. You can consider factors such as duration, accreditation, and support services provided by the institution.
  2. Enrolment: Once you’ve selected your course, you are able to enrol online or by contacting the institution. Provide the necessary information and make the required payments to secure your spot.
  3. Course Material: Once enrolled, you will gain access to course materials, which may include textbooks, study guides, and online resources. These materials are designed to guide you through the programme and ensure a smooth learning experience.
  4. Study and Assignments: You can study the course material at your own pace. Engage with the content, complete assignments, and submit them as per the provided guidelines. However, with distance learning, students have to be extremely disciplined. You are responsible for creating your own schedule and sticking to it.
  5. Tutor Support: Most distance learning institutions provide tutor support to assist you with any questions or challenges you may encounter throughout the course. Reach out to your tutors via email, forum discussions, or scheduled appointments for guidance and clarification.
  6. Assessments and Examinations: Along with that you also receive tests and assignments which you will have to complete and send back. You are only required to be in a physical classroom to write your exams. Distance learning is different from online education, where you need to have an internet connection to complete all your courses and tests.
  7. Certification: Once you have successfully completed all course requirements, you will be awarded a certificate or qualification, depending on the course you have undertaken and the accreditation of the institution.

What To Expect From Distance Learning?

Distance learning destroys all the norms of regular learning. Students can expect a new learning environment tailored to fit their individual needs. Students have a wide variety of courses to choose from. These courses equip students with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the workplace.

Does Distance Learning Have Exams?

Yes, distance learning still requires students to write examinations and submit assignments. They can complete and submit tasks via postal services. However, students are required to write exams at designated exam centres. 

What Are The Different Categories Of Distance Learning?

To get familiar with the types of distance learning, you first need to understand the two main categories distance learning falls into:

  1. Synchronous distance learning is interactive learning where students and teachers are in the same location. This can be a physical or virtual location.
  2. Asynchronous distance learning is where students can access the course materials on their own time and in different locations. This method provides more flexibility to students as they are able to learn at their own pace.

What Are The Different Types Of Distance Learning?

Identifying the type of distance learner you are is vital for your success. Take a look below at the different types of distance learning to see which one will work best for you:  

  • Correspondence Learning 
  • e-Learning
  • Hybrid Learning
  • Fixed-Time Online Courses
  • Open Schedule Online Courses

Correspondence Learning

This is a form of synchronous learning where there are two or more individuals who use video to interact over the internet. Using updated tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Google Workspace, individuals are able to interact with each other from different locations.


E-learning provides a way for students to access course materials and learn through the use of laptops, mobile devices and the Internet.

Hybrid Learning

Hybrid learning is a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning where students have to meet deadlines to complete tasks and exams. Are you an independent person? Then hybrid learning is the perfect option for you, as you are also able to work at your own pace.

Fixed-Time Online Courses

Fixed-time courses are perfect for students who want to work remotely and have a fixed schedule for classes and assignments. This will provide students with the freedom they want as well as the balance they need. 

Open Schedule Courses

This is synchronous learning where students have the freedom of choosing when to complete course material. To guide students through the course material, they will gain access to multiple resources such as email and course material.

What Are Accredited Courses?

You might be wondering, “What are accredited courses?” When a course has Accreditation, it shows that the course has been authorised by an official body, such as the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). Make sure to always check if the course offered by an institution is accredited.

What Are Non-Accredited Courses 

Courses that are not accredited have not been quality-checked by an official exam body. This does not mean that short courses have no value, it simply means that it is a skills programme. These courses are specifically designed by institutions to fill gaps in the job market.

Why Are Courses Accredited?  

Courses are accredited to ensure that you are not wasting your time and money studying a qualification that is not recognised. Let us delve deeper into some key reasons why courses are accredited, These may include:

  • Provision of quality education
  • Recognition
  • Career opportunities

Provision Of Quality Education

The goal of an official accreditation body is to ensure that education standards are met by local and international benchmarks. This will ensure that the educational standards in the country are maintained. It will also ensure that the education standards are comparable to similar courses internationally.

Recognition and Acceptance

Accredited courses are recognised worldwide. This means that courses that are on the National Qualification framework are more respected and accepted than the ones that are not.

Increased Career Opportunities

When you study an accredited course, you are setting yourself up for success. Not only does this give you the opportunity to study with other examination bodies in your field, but you also get exemptions. You also have greater chances of becoming employed when you hold accredited qualifications.

How Do I Know Which Courses Are Accredited?

So you have finally decided what you want to study. Now it is time to check whether the course you are interested in is accredited. Here are some ways to check for accreditation:

  • Umalusi
  • Ask the institution
  • South African Qualification Authorities (SAQA)
  • Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO)
  • The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)


This is one of the quality councils for education. You will be able to search for accredited institutions on their websites. The adult matric courses provided by distance learning colleges are not accredited, but the matric certificate will be certified by Umalusi. Therefore, it is important to study at a college that is accredited.

Ask the institution

Many institutions are actually obliged to tell you whether a course is accredited. However, it still remains your responsibility to ask them about your course of interest. They can then provide you with an accreditation number if it is accredited. Make sure to search this number to ensure that they are being honest.

South African Qualification Authorities (SAQA)

The SAQA ensures that the goals of the National Qualification Framework are implemented. They make sure that higher education courses meet the national standards. SAQA is responsible for verifying qualifications that have already been achieved.

Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO)

The QCTO make up one of three quality councils for education and training in South Africa. Their aim is to ensure that work-based qualifications meet the standards and demands of the current job market. If you want to study skills-based jobs such as educare, it must be accredited by them.

The Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET)

The DHET is one of South Africa’s educational departments. The goal of the DHET is to provide students with the knowledge and skills they will need for their careers. The responsibility of the DHET is to plan, develop and monitor all the policies for higher education.

Why Choose An Accredited Course

When it comes to following a career path, accreditation is an important factor to consider. Having accredited qualifications means that employers will know that your education is verified and that it meets the standards of education around the world. This will increase your chances for growth in your career and further employment.

Here are some benefits that come with having accredited qualifications:

  • Accredited Qualifications: You will receive a certificate of completion once you have completed your course. This certificate is recognised by other institutions, which gives you the option of furthering your education.
  • More job opportunities: Although you are able to get a job without an accredited course. Having an accredited course on your CV makes you a more desirable candidate. This is because companies recognise your course’s credibility. 
  • Increased earning potential: Accredited courses equip students with numerous skills that will make them an asset in the workplace. This allows students to get more tasks done and have a higher income.

What Are The Advantages Of Distance Learning?

Distance learning comes with many benefits for students which improve the learning experience of students. Here are some key benefits of distance learning for students:

  • Learn at your own pace
  • No more commutes to and from school
  • Teaches students effective time management
  • Coursework delivered to you 

Learn At Your Own Pace

No more staying up late to complete homework assignments. With distance learning, students are able to take their time to fully understand each topic before moving on to the next one. This encourages students to have productive study sessions without worrying about falling behind.

No More Commutes To And From School

Are you tired of the hassle of waking up early only for the school bus to arrive late? With distance learning, students are able to save time and petrol money by studying in the comfort of their own homes.

Teaches Students Effective Time Management

Distance learning, although challenging to some at first, forces students to manage their time better. This is an essential skill all students must have in order to succeed in today’s fast-paced world.

Coursework Delivered To You 

That’s right! With distance learning, you do not have to stress whether you have all your textbooks. Everything you need will be delivered to any location you choose.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Distance Learning And How To Overcome Them?

Although distance learning is a great method of learning, it can sometimes be stressful. Thus, it is important to establish effective stress management practices. Here are some key challenges students may face with distance learning and how to overcome them:

Lack of Discipline

Many distance learning students often struggle with creating a schedule and sticking to it. This can easily be solved. Start slow, and commit to doing 30 minutes a day of study time for a week. Once you are able to do this, you can add 30 additional minutes each week.

Poor Time Management

Do you find yourself constantly falling behind on your assignments? Create a study plan and a vision that allows you to complete a certain amount of work every week.

Students Can Feel Isolated

Distance learning students are able to study remotely with little to no interactions with other students. This does not give you an excuse to completely isolate yourself from people. Interact! Whether it is with friends or family or even taking your dog for a walk.

How Can I Balance My Distance Learning With Other Commitments?

In order to succeed at distance learning, you need to have a good work-life balance. Here are 5 key tips that will help you do just that:

  1. A study schedule is a non-negotiable
  2. Find or create a quiet place to study
  3. Take your time, divide your work and work through it slowly
  4. Enjoy time with friends and family
  5. Create weekly goals

Who uses distance learning?

Distance learning is used by people from all walks of life. It is a good option for students who stay far from universities, work full-time jobs, and it is especially ideal for students with special needs.

Is Distance Learning Right For Me?

Below is a list of key questions that will help you decide whether to pursue further education and training through distance learning:

How do I decide?


Do you have access to a laptop, desktop, tablet, or smartphone? 


Are you able to do 6 hours of learning in a week?


Does the idea of working and studying interest you?


Do you think distance learning is for you?


Are you able to work by yourself?


Are there any universities or colleges near you? 


Some closing thoughts worth considering

In 2017, the number of students enrolled in distance learning was approximately 6,6 million. In 2020, as an effect of the global pandemic, that number skyrocketed to 400 million students.  

The future of distance learning looks very promising, with technology continuing to advance and provide more accessible and interactive learning experiences for students. So if you want a flexible and personalised approach to education, distance learning might just be the right choice for you. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Will I Get Support On A Distance Learning Course? 

Yes, distance learning students can receive support from quality educators who will ensure that students have a smooth distance learning experience. Students simply have to send an email and an educator will get back to them.

Which Online Courses Are Accredited In South Africa?

  • NATED Courses are accredited by the Department of Higher Education and Training.
  • ICB Courses are accredited by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation.

Does NSFAS Fund Long-Distance Learning?

Yes, NSFAS provides bursaries to many South Africans. This also includes students who are enrolled at certain TVET Colleges.

Can I Study Accredited Courses Without Matric

Yes, there are some accredited ICB courses you can take without a matric certificate, however, you do need to have a grade 11. The Small Business Financial Management Course is an accredited ICB course you can study.

Are Distance Learning Courses Expensive?

No, the main goal of distance learning is to provide students with quality education at an affordable cost.

Can I Get A Job With A Non-Accredited Qualification?

Yes, you will be able to get a job with a non-accredited qualification. Accredited qualifications will only increase your chances of getting one. Non-accredited courses are designed to equip students with in-demand skills. 

These courses can be used to develop your career and even your entrepreneurial skills. However, if you wish to apply for an executive position. You will need an accredited qualification. 

What Do I Need To Qualify For Distance Learning Courses?

The following requirements must be met for NATED and ICB courses:


NATED courses

Matric Certificate: A National Senior Certificate or an Amended Senior Certificate
ICB Business Management coursesA grade 11 or equivalent certificates
ICB Office Administration courses Matric Certificate: Amended Senior Certificate or a National Senior Certificate
ICB Bookkeeping and Accounting coursesA Grade 10 certificate or an equivalent certificate

Author: Leon Matata
Editor: Connor Bergsma
Date Published: September 20, 2023

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