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We recommend you choose the online learning method as all online courses provide access to download course notes to access offline or print. If you do require your course to be supplied on USB stick then please contact us first to check availability for your country.

Qualification - Certificate In Alternative Education

Course CodeVGN002
Fee CodeCT
Duration (approx)600 hours

Education is Changing.

It is hard to know what the future will look like; but mainstream ideas of attending lectures in a classroom are unlikely to be the "mainstream" concept of education in the future. Many who have built careers on the idea of large numbers of students listening to a teacher talk. A lot of those career teachers feel threatened by uncertain change. Others who are contemplating a career in education are likewise, feeling uncertain.
The thing about change though is that every industry is changing, not just education; and  change not only destabilizes the past, but it offers wonderful and unique opportunities for the future.
If you can start to see alternative education as an opportunity rather than a niche industry, or a threat to the mainstream -you will be on the road to finding a whole new world of exciting and potentially profitable career prospects.
Education may be changing; but people will always need to learn. The only real thing that is changing is where, how and what we learn! 

The course contains eight lessons:

  1. Interpersonal Communication in Education
  2. Listening Skills
  3. Understanding Motivation
  4. Motivational Factors
  5. Applying Motivation to Education
  6. Stress Management
  7. Conflict Management
  8. Mediation and Negotiation



There are 9 lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Bases for Education
  2. Course Writing Methodologies
  3. Level of Study
  4. Curriculum Documentation
  5. Course Materials
  6. Course Material Creation
  7. Reviewing and Updating Courses
  8. Recognition and Accreditation
  9. Application and Implementation.



There are nine lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Scope and Nature of Distance Education –how it is different
  2. Getting the student started
  3. Supporting Students
  4. Real Time Support
  5. Managing Resources
  6. Assessment
  7. Student Administration
  8. Communication Skills
  9. Supporting Graduates



There are seven lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Introduction –Development & Learning Theory
  2. Behavioural Learning
  3. Information Processing
  4. Memory Retention & Loss
  5. Individual Needs
  6. Constructivist Learning
  7. Motivation



There are ten lessons in this module as follows:

  1. Theoretical Approaches and Key Concepts
  2. Early Childhood – Cognitive & Social Development in the First 6 Years
  3. Middle Childhood – Cognitive, Moral & Social Development in the Primary School Years
  4. Challenges of Middle Childhood
  5. Adolescence – Cognitive, Moral & Social Development
  6. Challenges of Adolescence
  7. Adulthood - Cognitive and Psychosocial Development in Early and Middle Adulthood
  8. Challenges of Adulthood
  9. Late Adulthood - Cognitive and Psychosocial Changes in the Elderly
  10. Challenges of Late Adulthood



There are 3 lessons in this module, each requiring the student to complete a problem-based learning project:

1. Workplace Tools, Equipment and Materials - Identifying and describing the operation of tools and equipment used in the workplace; routine maintenance of tools and equipment; identifying and comparing materials used in the workplace; using different materials to perform workplace tasks.

2. Workplace Skills - Determining key practical skills in the workplace; identifying and comparing commonly-performed workplace tasks; determining acceptable standards for workplace tasks; implementing techniques for improving workplace efficiency.

3. Workplace Safety - Identifying health and safety risks in the workplace; complying with industry OH&S standards; developing safety guidelines for handling dangerous items.


There are many different approaches to teaching.

Some are teacher centred, others student centred.


Teacher-centred learning

Traditional education has been teacher-centred, based on the imparting of information through lectures, set readings, and teacher-controlled experiences. The curriculum is set by the school or the teachers, and delivered in a way that the teaching staff have firm control over what information is provided to the students, and how. The fundamental assumption is that the teacher’s role is as provider of the information; the student’s is as receiver of the information.

Traditional education is therefore often described as information-based. The aims are:

  • the teacher will impart pre-selected information to a student
  • the student will study and retain that information
  • the student’s progress or learning will be assessed by his or her ability to present that information correctly in the required forms (e.g. essays, definitions, answers to questions).

The success of information-based courses is assessed by determining what information the student has retained at the end of the course. Therefore, the key communication skills required from the teacher are ability to present information clearly, unambiguously, and logically, and to explain new or complex concepts, processes or ideas in a way that maximises student understanding. For the student, key communication skills are the ability to listen and read attentively to select relevant information, to take notes quickly, to communicate where needed to gain further clarification, and to present information clearly in writing and verbally.

Because it has a long tradition, and many people have been educated in this way from their early years, many students expect this kind of education when they enrol in a course, and may feel uncomfortable or dissatisfied with courses that do not follow this basic pattern.

Student-centred learning

There are various methods of using student-centred learning, some based almost wholly on student experience, others based on student interest and motivation to study about certain things, some based on student problem-solving, some based on student discussion or group work, and yet others based on issues that are of relevance to the students and their society and content that is selected by the students.  What they all have in common is sharing with the student at least some control over what is learned and how it is learned.

Generally speaking, the aims of student-centred learning are:

  • the teacher provides relevant information or access to it
  • the student engages with that information with some form of problem-solving or project planning, developing relevant skills and knowledge as needed to complete the task
  • the teacher takes a facilitating role to support and monitor the student’s efforts
  • the student demonstrates understanding and knowledge gained through reflection upon the practical exercise. (You can read more about student-centred learning on the internet. Do a web search under ‘student-based education’ to begin with).

Student success may be assessed by a variety of methods that can include essays, answering questions etc. but usually include some kind of practical application of the information learned, and some kind of assessment of the student’s ability to draw conclusions, understand implications, and respond individually to the course content. Therefore, key communication skills in student-centred learning are the ability to give and follow instructions effectively, to give and request specific information, to communicate to reach agreement on goals and requirements, to clearly and assertively communicate needs and opinions, to distinguish between essential and non-essential or relevant and irrelevant information, and to establish and maintain productive relationships, plus those mentioned above (logical presentation of information, explain complex information). Both student and teacher require these skills in student-centred learning.

Research has shown that student-centred courses are more productive learning experiences than teacher-centred courses. It shows that with student-centred learning, student motivation is stronger and learning is far more effective.

Examples of Student Centred Education


Problem based learning (PBL)

This system is based on students learning to use critical thinking skills to solve ‘real life’ problems. PBL is discussed in greater detail later in this lesson.

Experiential learning

These are courses that focus on the experiences that a student goes through, and the learning that comes from undergoing those experiences. The success of experiential courses needs to be assessed not only on information which is acquired, but also on less tangible things such as attitudes that have changed. Here every step in the whole experience, and not just the end result, is equally important.

Montessori education

The Montessori approach was developed for educating young children in Italy, and now has a wide following globally. Montessori-based pre-schools operate in many parts of the world. Montessori education allows the child to determine what he/she will learn, and even how he or she will learn. It provides options, exposure to ideas and information, and the facility for different individuals to pursue different learning experiences at the same time. Research has shown significant advantages in Montessori education.

Self paced learning

In this system, students are able to choose when, and also possibly what, to learn. The system recognises that every person learns and completes tasks at a different rate to others. The mode of education may be applied in traditional classroom situations, but is more commonly used in open and distance education.


Education is changing rapidly in todays world.

This is a course for people who have a vision of the future and wish to be part of these changes; helping to forge new and exciting  alternative approaches to education that are better suited to the modern world.

Learning Facilities

ACS follows the old fashioned idea that “the student comes first”. Our staff are told to treat every student as an individual and respond promptly to their enquiries; and the facilities we have developed and continue to develop, are all focused on that goal. Facilities include:

  • Offices in two time zones (UK and Australia) –which means an international team of academics are responding to students 5 days a week and 16 hours a day.
  • An online student room with unique resources that are only available to students studying our courses, including online library.
  • Bookshop offering quality downloadable e books
  • A data base of 20 million words of unique information written by our staff over 3 decades that can be drawn upon if needed by academics for use in supporting our students.
  • Systems that ensure assignments are tracked, marked and returned to students, fast -commonly within a round 1 week & rarely more than 2 weeks (note: many other colleges take longer).
  • The school is active in social networking and encourages students to connect with us and each other.
  • No automated handling of student phone enquiries. When you call you get a real person; or leave a message and a real person will call you back within a day, but more commonly within an hour or two.
  • No additional charges for extra tutor support over the phone or email.
  • Free careers advice for graduates –It is our policy to provide support and advice to our students even after they graduate. If a graduate needs help with getting a CV together, or advice on setting up a business or looking for work; they only need ask.
  • The quality of academic staff is higher than many other colleges.


 How our Courses Differ

  • Courses are continually improved –we invite feedback from all graduates and change courses immediately the need is detected.
  • Courses are relevant to the whole world –we try hard to teach make the learning transferable to any region or country because the world is increasingly a global economy
  • Courses written by our staff, teach different skills to standard courses; giving a unique mix of skills and knowledge to provide a career advantage. Do you want an accredited certificate and the same skills as 100 other job applicants; or one of our courses with skills that no other applicants have?
  • Certificates and diplomas are longer. They teach you more, and our qualifications have built a reputation amongst academics and industry as being a very high standard for this reason.
  • We are focused on helping you learn in a way that improves your capacity to understand your discipline, apply knowledge, and continue learning and developing your capabilities beyond your course.

These things cannot be always said of other colleges.


Career Opportunities

Study alone can never guarantee career success; but a good education is an important starting point.

Success in a career depends upon many things. A course like this is an excellent starting point because it provides a foundation for continued learning, and the means of understanding and dealing with issues you encounter in the workplace.

When you have completed an ACS course, you will have not only learnt about the subject, but you will have been prompted to start networking with experts in the discipline and shown how to approach problems that confront you in this field.

This and every other industry in today’s world is developing in unforeseen ways; and while that is unsettling for anyone who wants to be guaranteed a particular job at the end of a particular course; for others, this rapidly changing career environment is offering new and exciting opportunities almost every month.

If you want to do the best that you can in this industry, you need to recognise that the opportunities that confront you at the end of a course, are probably different to anything that has even been thought of when you commence a course.



Meet some of our academics

Jade SciasciaBiologist, Business Coordinator, Government Environmental Dept, Secondary School teacher (Biology); Recruitment Consultant, Senior Supervisor in Youth Welfare, Horse Riding Instructor (part-completed) and Boarding Kennel Manager. Jade has a B.Sc.Biol, Dip.Professional Education, Cert IV TESOL, Cert Food Hygiene.
Maggi BrownMaggi is regarded as an expert in organic growing throughout the UK, having worked for two decades as Education Officer at the world renowned Henry Doubleday Research Association. She has been active in education, environmental management and horticulture across the UK for more than three decades. Some of Maggi's qualifications include RHS Cert. Hort. Cert. Ed. Member RHS Life Member Garden Organic (HDRA) .
Tracey JonesWidely published author, Psychologist, Manager and Lecturer. Over 10 years working with ACS and 25 years of industry experience. Qualifications include: B.Sc. (Hons) (Psychology), M.Soc.Sc (social work), Dip. SW (social work), PGCE (Education), PGD (Learning Disability Studies).

Check out our eBooks

Life CoachingExplore careers and business opportunities as a life coach. Build on your existing career and life experiences. Life coaching is all about helping people with their problems, whether financial, career, health or something else. Six chapters cover: what a life coach is, how to help people change, sorting through your own issues, determining what people need, managing risk and how to become a life coach. 67pages
LearningAn ideal tool for students and people assisting others who are studying. The learning ebook explains different ways in which people learn and ideal learning conditions for different people. Learning becomes knowledge if and when it is remembered. Success in anything you do in your work, personal or leisure time is dependent upon the knowledge you have acquired your ability to use that knowledge.
Working With PeopleA job and careers guide for people who like working with people -covering everything from counselling and personnel management to marketing, health and education
Professional Practice for ConsultantsExplore becoming a consultant. This ebook contains chapters on how to be a consultant, packaging your services, delivering the services, building your resources, finding the work and getting the job, planning and ethics.