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How to study a practical course online

by Amanda Collins

It sounds odd, studying a hands-on course like building and construction, nail technology or aged care online. You may ask yourself ‘is that even possible?‘. And the answer is yes, it’s possible.

In fact, with Open Colleges it’s more than possible, it’s what we do.

We spend hundreds of hours designing our practical courses so you get the very best education, including plenty of opportunities to gain practical, hands-on experience.

We do this in six different ways.

1. Simulated scenarios

Simulated scenarios are computer-generated simulations of a standard workplace in a specific field, like a health clinic or a building site.

They are included in students’ course materials and give learners a chance to explore the work environment. You’ll meet fictional staff members and learn, practice and test your skills in a virtual workplace setting.

how to study a practical subject online with simulated scenarios

An example of a simulated scenario in an Allied Health course.

2. Workplace projects

Workplace projects are performed by students in real work settings under the guidance of qualified mentors.

What this means is that students will take their online learning and put it to use performing specific tasks in a real world workplace.

how to study a practical course online automotive

3. Work placement

Open Colleges’ practical courses often contain a work placement. Similar to workplace projects, a work placement allows students to put their online learning into practice in a workplace of their choosing.

Where a work placement differs is that it takes place over a longer period than a workplace project, it often requires 100 or more hours spent in a work environment.

Here, students gain experience in a real workplace under the guidance of industry professionals, learn valuable skills on the job, and make friends and connections in their industry.

Find out more about work placements here.

4. Industry memberships and networking

On some courses, Open Colleges has partnered with industry heavyweights to grant students access to professional memberships and networking opportunities, including regular industry meet-ups.

So before students have even finished studying, they have access to industry membership and all its benefits, including insider knowledge on what’s happening in the industry and potential jobs.

It also means that students can meet and mingle with others in their industry to make friends and job connections.

how to study a practical subject online nail tech

5. Professional kits and equipment

Students who study practical courses, like beauty therapy and nail technology, receive industry-grade kits which they can use at home to practice what they learn online.

These kits include professional equipment and tools, and allow students to master techniques and skills before going out into the workplace.

how to study a practical course online with beauty kits

An example of the professional beauty kit students of the Diploma of Beauty receive.

6. Immersive course content

Open Colleges believes that people learn in many different ways. Some gain a lot from reading and some learn by listening, while others love to get in and get practical, and some learn from observation.

To make sure everyone gets the very best learning experience, Open Colleges’ study materials include videos, podcasts, readings, work placement, simulated scenarios, and an online community where you can ask questions, chat and meet fellow students.

By learning from a range of mediums, you have the best chance of immersing yourself in your course, and letting those all-important practical skills become second nature.

Watch videos, listen to podcasts or read the content to immerse yourself in the course.

Practical courses are possible online

Studying a practical course online offers the perfect mix of flexibility and quality education, with hands-on experience.

Online course content like simulated scenarios, as well as professional training kits and workplace projects, teach and prepare you for a longer work placement later in your studies. Industry memberships ensure you know what’s going on within the industry, and help you make excellent job contacts.

So studying online doesn’t mean you miss out on practical experience. You’ll get the best of both worlds, and you’ll be fully job-ready when you graduate.

Ready to start studying online?

Whether you’re hoping to start a hands-on career or are just looking for a change of direction, Open Colleges has over 100 courses that could help you reach your professional goals. Find your course now.

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