Nottingham Trent University

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Online student experience

Why distance learning should be your new year's resolution

Why distance learning should be your new year's resolution

With distance learning continuing to grow in popularity - the global online education market is set to reach US$ 350 Billion by 20251 – it has never been more important for ambitious professionals to ensure that they have the knowledge and skills they need to stand out.

2020 has been a challenging year and, coupled with the advancements in technology and AI that are re-shaping the world of work, the employment landscape is set to be very different as we enter 2021 and beyond.

Here we take a look at why now is the perfect time for you to start your online study journey.

Increase your job satisfaction

COVID-19 has changed the world – have your priorities shifted too? Studies have shown that twice as many workers (83.6%) believe that enjoying their job is a better measure of career success than having a high salary (42.4%).2

A major event like the pandemic can lead us to reassess what is important to us and be a great catalyst for change.

A recent study of UK employees showed that 4 in 10 respondents found the coronavirus outbreak a ‘wake-up call’. More than a third of those polled have reconsidered their chosen career following the outbreak and 10% are attempting to retrain.3

Whether you are looking to gain a promotion in your current role, or you have decided that it is time to pursue a career change, studying a postgraduate degree online can help make your dream job a reality without impacting too significantly on your current committments.

You’ve got a better work/life balance

It is likely that working from home - at least part of the time - is here to stay. Many bosses are predicting that there will be a permanent shift to home-working as a result of COVID-194 and other studies have shown that the productivity of the majority of home workers has remained stable, or even increased, when compared to the six months before the pandemic.5

For many, this is a positive change which provides more flexibility in our daily lives. It is estimated that more than a quarter of UK adults (27%) have saved on average up to an hour a day since they’ve not been commuting.6 With this trend set to continue into 2021 and beyond, that’s a lot of time saved for other pursuits - including online study.

Gain more responsibility (and a higher salary)

It may not be as important as job satisfaction in making you happy at work, but a healthy salary is still a serious motivator for many of us. A 2020 report by the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) suggests that postgraduates earn an average of 18% more than first degree holders, just six months after graduation.7

A Masters level qualification also helps you to increase the level of responsibility you have in the workplace. In fact, the chances of you being in a ‘professional occupation’ (rather than a less senior associate role) are just over 20% higher if you have a postgraduate qualification.8

Having a clear career path and the opportunity to take on more responsibility is also a key factor in improving career satisfaction9 – so it’s a win there too.  

Be ready for the challenges of the future

“The COVID-19 pandemic has served to emphasise the benefits of education as an insurance policy against economic adversity as well as the importance of university research in furthering knowledge of how to tackle truly global challenges”10 writes Nick Hillman for the Higher Education Policy Institute.

The events of 2020 have led to uncertainty in the job market and shaken many industries. Postgraduate study helps you to gain the analytical and practical skills you need to understand and successfully operate within today’s global landscape.

In addition, with advancements in technology re-shaping the workplace at an increasing rate, employers expect professionals to undertake a programme of lifelong learning. Online qualifications provide a great boost to your CV, demonstrating to employers that you have the specialist knowledge, skills and practical experience that they are looking for.

Undertaking an online study programme also enables you to demonstrate desirable soft skills, including time management, self-discipline and the ability to successfully operate in the digital environment. 

The number of postgraduate applicants is increasing; it is predicted that there could be an additional 22,750 undergraduates moving directly to postgraduate study by 2030 in England alone.11 Studying for an online postgraduate degree now is the perfect way to stand out from the competition and ensure you are prepared to face the challenges in your industry, both now and in the future.

If you’re considering a career change, or you’re keen to advance your knowledge in a specific area, the 100% online programmes at Nottingham Trent University can help you achieve your goals. For more information, please visit our online learning pages or give our Admissions team a call on UK: 0800 032 1180 or Intl: +44 (0)115 941 8419.


  1. UNKNOWN (2019) $350 Billion Online Education Market: Global Forecast to 2025 by End User, Learning Mode (Self-Paced, Instructor Led), Technology, Country (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  2. UNKNOWN (2018) Brits reveal job satisfaction is far more important than salary (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  3. O’BRIAN, S (2020) CORONAVIRUS: ‘MILLIONS OF ADULTS ARE REEVALUATING THEIR CAREERS’ – ARE YOU? (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  4. THOMAS, D (2020) Bosses predict permanent shift in working and an evolution for cities (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  5. FELSTEAD, A & REUSCHKE, D (2020) HOMEWORKING IN THE UK: BEFORE AND DURING THE 2020 LOCKDOWN (Online) Available at: [Accessed 06.11.20]
  6. MORRIS, N (2020) We have ‘saved nine days’ by not commuting in 2020 (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  7. HOUSE, G (2020) HEPI number Analytical Report 1 Postgraduate Education in the UK (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  8. HESA GRADUATE OUTCOMES SURVEY (2017-18) Masters Degrees, Employment and Earnings (Online) Available at: <,holders%2C%20six%20months%20after%20graduation> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  9. UNKNOWN (2019) How Important is Job Satisfaction in Today’s Workplace? (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  10. HILLMAN N (2020) The Student Academic Experience Survey 2020 (Online) Available at:> [Accessed 06.11.20]
  11. HOUSE, G (2020) HEPI number Analytical Report 1 Postgraduate Education in the UK (Online) Available at: <> [Accessed 06.11.20]