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Distance Learning – The Bristol way

Distance Learning – The Bristol way

I can remember my own thoughts clearly ‘I have never self-studied, I don’t think I could do it.’

For many of us, when we are planning our route through flight training, there is a feeling of trepidation and doubt upon discovering that distance learning the ATPL’s looks like it’d solve a lot of problems.

Therein lies the truth – distance learning for the ATPL’s can make a training route look far more manageable: it would allow you to remain in employment whilst studying – which either removes or dramatically reduces the amount of time you won’t have an income – or alternatively, it would allow you to complete your ATPL course and hour building concurrently and in short time. Distance learning courses cost less and they negate the need to move and pay for accommodation for 6 months minimum.

Ok I understand all the benefits, but I really can’t study by myself.

The truth behind this statement, 95% of the time, is ‘I haven’t studied by myself’.

Here at BGS we have students of all ages and backgrounds, some straight from secondary school, some 55 year old PPL holders looking to instruct. We have seen success across the board of the demographic. The key to success is undoubtedly found in the individual’s motivation to succeed – not in some innate ability to distance learn.

As stated, the vast majority of our students haven’t studied in this way before either, so you’ll be in good company – on this level and many others. Our formative years are spent in a classroom so it is reasonable for us to assume that is the only way we can learn. The reason we learn in this way during our early years is that it is a good way to learn – it ensures that a student actually does dedicate a certain amount of time to learning per day and progress can be tracked by the teacher. If there are misunderstandings, they can be recognised immediately and corrected.

How does the BGS distance course tackle these essential requirements?

The first thing to highlight is that we call our course a ‘Blended learning package’, it is not entirely distance learning; included in the basic cost is 21 days of tuition – this is more than the industry norm for distance courses. The reason for this is we understand how valuable face to face time is and don’t want to deprive our students of the wonderful insights of the experienced instructors. At the same time, we are aware that some are choosing to study this way because time away from life’s normal commitments is difficult, so to ensure that both scenarios are catered for we make 6 of those 21 days optional.

The classroom time is the last opportunity for the instructors to trap misunderstandings. Prior to the revision week you will be studying from an app, atpdigital, and at the end of each lesson there is a quiz (the first chance to trap misunderstandings). After around 3 lessons you will have a progress test (the second chance to intercept errors). After you have completed the lessons and tests for each module, you can then use the question bank, bgsonline.eu to practice exams featuring actual questions found in the exams (we use student feedback to gain these),  during this stage you are again identifying your weaknesses and learning how to manage your time and refine your knowledge for the real exams. So there is little chance, if you follow the programme diligently, that you could get all the way to the exam completely misunderstanding a concept.

As for logging of time and checking progress against targets, well we have that covered too. Beautifully though, you set the time frame – you could set yourself the minimum (6 months) or a very gentle pace if you are already quite busy. Either way, there is 650 hours worth of material to study so If you set yourself 6 months to complete you will need to do roughly 3.6 hrs study a day.

ATPdigital works out how many lessons to study per week and sets out a progress bar and schedules lessons for you according to the requirement.