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2.3 Formal learning

Formal routes to learning include educational institutions like colleges and universities, and work-based learning such as internships, cooperative education and prior-learning assessment.

Rather than enrol for one long course, it is now often possible to take advantage of modular courses (where you study each unit separately), credit accumulation (where you build up your achievements gradually) and the accreditation of prior learning (recognising what you have learned before and counting this towards a new qualification). You also can transfer from one institution to another and you may be able to mix distance learning (like that offered by The Open University) with more traditional coursework at your local college or university.

So as you can see, there are many opportunities to fit study time around your other commitments, the resources you have available, the time frame that suits you and your work situation. Plan some time to research these alternatives if you think they may be the right ones for you.

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

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