Is Flexible Learning For Me?
Flexible Learning is the term used in Limerick Institute of Technology to encompass the range of part-time/evening/on-line/blended learning programmes which are offered in the Institute. Other terms which are often used include Life Long Learning or Adult Education. Flexible Learning is for you if
- You want to upskill or gain additional knowledge in a specific area relevant to your work and can only study on a part-time basis
- Wish to gain a third level qualification but can only complete a programme on a part-time basis due to other commitments
- Want to learn about a new area/develop a new skill out of general interest, not related to your career or work
LIT offers a wide range of programmes in its Flexible Learning portfolio across all of its different academic Departments. Review the programmes on offer using the Search Functions on this site (A-Z, by Department, by Campus) and hopefully you can find a programme/module of interest which suits your needs.
If you can’t find something that you meets your needs make sure to register your details with us (by using the Submit a Query Function) to be included on our newsletter which will provide updates on new programmes and modules being offered.
Flexible Learning FAQ
The Level of your award links to the Irish National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). This is a nationally agreed framework which allows education providers to match the level of their academic programme with the demands of the qualification. For example the Level 5 Certificate is a Level 5 award. The Level also reflects the amount of independent work and analysis that you are expected to do with this increasing as you move up the various levels. Details of the NFQ can be found here http://www.nfq-qqi.com/
Normally you can consider that a programme/module at
- Level 6 will have content and being delivered in a way which is similar to that in a first or second year of a 4 year degree programme
- Level 7 will have content and being delivered in a way which is similar to that in third year of a 4 year degree programme
- Level 8 will have content and being delivered in a way which is similar to that of a final year of a 4 year degree programme
A Major Award is normally a Higher Certificate (120 Credits), Ordinary Degree (180 Credits) or Honours Degree Programme (240 Credits).
A Minor Award is an award which provides recognition for learners who achieve a range of learning outcomes, but not the specific combination or volume of learning outcomes required for a major award.
Special Purpose Awards (SPA’s) are standalone and have a distinct identity which reflects their clearly defined purpose. A SPA will always be smaller than a Major Award in terms of total number of credits and duration. SPA’s can range on a scale from Level 6 to 8 and between 10 and 40 credits.
What are ECTS/Credits?
ECTS stands for European Credit Transfer System and has been developed in line with the Bologna Accord. This allows for your credits gained in an Irish HEI to be recognised throughout the world. See http://ec.europa.eu/education/ects/ects_en.htm for details. In LIT we normally have 5 Credit or 10 Credit modules.
What is the difference between a module/programme/award?
A module is a particular unit of study on a particular topic e.g. Maths or Web Development 1. Each module has a number of credits and a defined schedule for delivery. A programme is made up of one or more modules and a student completes the individual modules to complete a programme e.g Higher Diploma in Business Management or Certificate in Near Zero Energy Buildings. The Award is what the student receives having completed their full programme of study e.g. Pass or Distinction.
What is the difference between a City & Guilds Award and any other award?
LIT is an approved City & Guilds Centre. LIT provides the modules, completes the majority of assessments and facilities examinations. Exams are set by City & Guilds and held on the LIT Campus. Students receive a City & Guilds Award and credits these programmes can be used to apply for a entrance onto programmes in LIT or other Higher Education Institutes. Full details on the City & Guilds Programmes are available at www.cityandguilds.com
Recognition of Prior Learning
What is Recognition of Prior Learning?
Recognition of Prior Learning is the generic term for systems such as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) or Advanced Academic Standing which are used within Higher Education to describe the awarding of credit to applicants on the basis of demonstrated learning that has occurred prior to admission. The philosophy underlying RPL is to enable and encourage people to enter or re-enter formal education, leading to qualifications, by awarding exemptions or recognising credit for what they already know from the programme curriculum. The onus is on the applicant to demonstrate the prior learning, by preparing and submitting adequate evidence, under the guidance and advice of the institution.
There are two main categories within RPL:
- Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL): the awarding of exemptions for un- certificated learning gained from experience. It should be noted that exemptions can be awarded only for achievement of learning outcomes, not experience per se.
- Accreditation of Prior Certificated Learning (APCL): the recognition of formal learning for which certification has been awarded through a bona-fide educational institution or other education/training provider. Under the principle that such credit should only be awarded once, such prior learning requires recognition rather than accreditation.
What is the process for RPL
Full details of the process of RPL are available here (http://www.lit.ie/Exams/Documents/ACRP_1516_Part%201_AC_150619_Approved.pdf) – go to Section 5.
Study and Workload
How much self-study should I plan for?
Normally a 5 credit module equates to 100 Total Learning Hours. Total Learning Hours includes the time you spend in class (lectures, tutorials, practicals) and the time you spend completing work outside of college. So if you have 3 hrs per week of class time for a module you should plan to spend at least another 4 hours per week doing your own study.
You should bear in mind that the workload will increase at particular times e.g. when assignments are due.
What the difference between Lectures/Tutorials/Practical
A Lecture normally involves the lecturer providing information to you in various formats (presentation, reviewing book chapters etc.) and there can be limited interaction/discussion on the topic.
Tutorials are used to explore topics in a more interactive way. This may include problem solving, reviewing particular formulae, discussions on particular topics etc.
Practical are normally in a lab environment (computer, science, engineering etc.) are involve demonstration of a technology/software/method and allow for students to learn new skills and competences.
Do I need my own computer/laptop?
Only if you are studying on-line/blended learning programmes is a computer absolutely necessary. However, most programmes do provide notes via the Institutes Virtual Learning Environment (Moodle) and often you have to submit assignments and assessments in electronic format. Access to a computer would be beneficial for most programmes.
Will I have access to the Library?
Students can access the Institutes’ Library once they are a registered studentry via the LIT Student Portal. https://stuportal.lit.ie/SitePages/Home.aspx
On-line/Blended Learning Programmes
What is the difference between on-line and blended learning?
An on-line programme normally has over 80% of the content delivered fully on-line and there is limited actual ‘class time’ where students meet each other, and their lecturer(s) in person. Blended learning programmes can have between 20-80% of the content delivered on-line with the remaining involving either lectures/practicals/tutorials delivered at one of LIT’s campuses.
How is the on-line content delivered?
On-line content normally includes a mixture on recorded lectures, on-line resources for review by the student, on-line discussion forums and other collaborative means which allow for student interaction. Some programmes may include live webinars where both the lecturer and students engage in live, synchronous discussions and exchanges.
What type of computing equipment do I need to complete an on-line programme?
If you are doing an on-line/blended learning programme you will need regular access to a computer/laptop which has the following characteristics
- Operating System (Windows or Mac) which includes programmes such as MS Word and MS Excel (or similar)
- Has a robust internet connection. Ideally this should be a broadband connection which will facilitate downloading content, viewing of video e.g. on YouTube or within the VLE, and uploading of documents (assignments) to the VLE
- Has a set of Headphones or high quality speakers which can be used to listen to recorded content (lecturers etc.)
Other optional requirements may include
- Access to a webcam which may be used for live webinars
- Has the capacity to have other relevant software installed which may be indicated as being relevant by the lecturer
- Printer to print relevant materials
Finance and Funding
What are the fees for my programme?
The fees for each programme are listed on the page for each programme. Search for your programme of study using the search function on the flexiblelearning.lit.ie and you will see the fee information on the right hand side of the course page.
What methods of payment are accepted for payment of fees?
Students can pay their fees using one of the following methods of payment:
- Credit/Debit Card
- Electronic Bank Transfer
- Sponsor Invoice
- Instalment Plan (Available only for programmes with fees of €500 or greater)
Please note that for security reasons, we are unable to accept cash payments.
Is there funding available for Flexible Learning Programmes?
Unfortunately there is limited funding available for part-time programmes and students are normally not eligible for grants under the SUSI grant programme. Students are advised to review www.studentfinance.ie or contact the Dept. of Social Protection or Local Employment Services who may be able to provide assistance
If there is funding available for specific programmes, this will be highlighted on the individual programme page.
How can I go about applying for Tax Relief on my course fees?
Tax relief is available at the standard rate of income tax for tuition fees paid by or on behalf of students who attend an approved programme of study which must be at least two years in duration. Further information and an application form for tax relief on tuition fees is available from the Revenue Commissioners’ website, www.revenue.ie . A receipt for fees paid must accompany the completed application form.
Do I receive a refund of course fees if I withdraw from a course of study?
Our policy in relation to refunding of programme fees are as follows:
Students who wish to withdraw from a Flexible Learning Programme must do so officially, by completing a withdrawal form, available upon request from the Department of Flexible Learning in Limerick or Thurles as appropriate.
Our policy in relation to refunding of programme fees are as follows:
- In the event that a programme is cancelled by LIT, for any reason, a refund of 100% of the payment, including the*booking fee (where applicable) will be issued.
- In the event that a student withdraws from a programme before the commencement date, a refund of 100% of the programme fee, less the *booking fee (where applicable) will be issued. This is subject to the student informing the Department of Flexible Learning of their intention to withdraw, in writing, before the commencement date of the programme and presuming the student has paid their fees in full.
- In the event that a student withdraws from a programme after the commencement date has passed, the following rules apply:
- For programmes with a duration of less than 10 weeks, no refunds will apply from the date the programme commences.
- For programmes with a duration of between 10 and 12 weeks, the student must complete and submit a withdrawal form to the Department of Flexible Learning within two weeks of the commencement date of the programme. Subject to all requirements being met, 70% of the programme fee, less the *booking fee (where applicable) will be issued. Thereafter, no refunds will be processed.
- For programmes longer than 12 weeks in duration, the student must complete and submit a withdrawal form to the Department of Flexible Learning within four weeks of the commencement date of the programme. Subject to all requirements being met, 70% of the programme fee, less the *booking fee (where applicable) will be issued. Thereafter, no refunds will be processed.
If the requirements outlined above are not met, no refund will be processed.
Please note that the policy outlined above applies to all students, regardless of the payment method used. Students availing of instalment plans will owe any outstanding payments if they fall outside the time period for a refund.
In extenuating circumstances such as illness, bereavement or exceptional work or personal commitments, students may appeal directly in writing to the Head of Department, Flexible Learning for a refund of fees paid, less the *booking fee (where applicable). Appeals are considered on a case-by-case basis. It is in this regard, that applicants are requested prior to enrolling, to inform themselves of the various requirements of the programme and to contact the programme leader for guidance on the programme suitability.
There are certain Flexible Learning programmes within LIT, that will require the payment of a booking fee of 10% of the total programme fee, in order to secure a place on the programme. Please note, that the requirement of a booking deposit will be clearly outlined in the programme description under “Course Fees”. This booking fee is non-refundable (except where a programme is cancelled by LIT) and is credited against the programme fees upon registering as a student.
Application and Registration
How do I apply for my programme
Please go to the Apply Now Section where you will find full details on how to apply for your particular programme
Are there any discounts available?
There are no discounts available on programme fees in general. If you receive funding from a particular agency, your employer or via a funding programme e.g. Springboard this is normally termed as being Sponsored. The Flexible Learning Department will arrange with you and the Sponsor in relation to payment of fees.
Is it possible to pay fees in instalments?
Yes, students wishing to pay their fees in Instalments may do so by setting up an official instalment plan with the LIT Grants & Fees Office. Instalment Plan set-up forms can be requested from the Flexible Learning Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Grants & Fees Office at email@example.com. It is important to note that Instalment Plans do not become official until the document is completed and signed by the student, returned to the Grants & Fees Office, along with the first payment.
What happens if I don’t pay all my fees?
If you do not pay your fees the Institute has the right to withhold you results from the relevant Examination Boards which ratify your academic progress within the Institute. No Results/Awards will be issued to students who have outstanding fees owning to the Institute.
My course dates are not currently available what should I do?
You can do one of two things. Firstly register your interest in your particular programme of study via the Register Your Interest Forum on www.flexibelearning.lit.ie or secondly you can review the website 1 month prior to the start of the programme and relevant application information should be available.