The Advantages of the IT Essentials (RQF) - Level 2 Course

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The Advantages of the IT Essentials (RQF) - Level 2 Course:

One question we get asked quite a lot is what are the differences between the ECDL Online Course and the IT Essentials - Level 2 (RQF) Course?

In regards to what the course covers and the suitability for beginner level students, there isn't much difference at all. In fact, both courses are set out for beginners, covering the use of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office software. Studying both can lead to a Level 2 Qualification.

The ECDL and IT Essentials Course are both based on units covered within the ITQ (IT User Qualification), which is a nationally recognised qualification for those who need digital skills as users of technology.

The main reason for developing the IT Essentials - Level 2 (RQF) Course was to eliminate a few small issues that students had encountered when studying for the ECDL qualification and sitting ECDL Tests at ECDL testing centres.

Below are 7 advantages we believe the IT Essentials - (RQF) Level 2 Course has when compared with studying for ECDL:

  • The Course Content is more up-to-date

The IT Essentials - Level 2 (RQF) Course has only been recently developed and is up to date with coverage of Windows 10 and Microsoft Office 2019/Office 365 software. As of the time of writing this article, the ECDL Online Course has not been updated beyond Windows 7 and Office 2013.

  • Gain a Certificate of Completion if you don't want to gain a RQF Qualification

Many of our students don't want to gain a qualification and simply want to learn more about using their computer and software, whether at home or at work. The IT Essentials - Level 2 (RQF) Course gives the flexibility of supplying our own Certificate of Completion for students who don't want to gain a qualification, or for the additional fee students can pay for the accreditation separately.

  • The Qualification Level and Credits

Both qualifications are Level 2, although 3 of the 7 units covered in the ECDL Course are Level 1 and the credit value for the ECDL Core (7 Units) is 25. All of the units in the IT Essentials Course are set at Level 2 and it has 32 credits associated with the qualification.

  • Qualification Cost

The accreditation fee for the IT Essentials - Level 2 (RQF) Course is £150.00. The price for the BCS registration and all 7 tests associated with the ECDL Course are set by the exam centres and will vary, although this is likely to cost much more. As an example, an ECDL testing centre that we deal with charges £249.99 for the registration and all 7 tests.

  • No Exam Centres

The IT Essentials Course is assessed through coursework so there is no need to locate and travel to an ECDL testing centre. Some students have had issues finding a suitable testing centre for their ECDL exams. Although many ECDL centres are listed on the BCS Website, the centres themselves are required to update their information so the information provided is never 100% accurate with some centres no longer in business and other no longer offering tests to external candidates.

  • Coursework Assessment only

The IT Essentials - Level 2 (RQF) Course is coursework only. Student's complete assignments as they progress which are returned to their course tutor for assessment. We believe this gives students more practical experience when working through the course contents.

  • Gain 2 Qualifications instead of 1!

As the IT Essentials Course covers the same subject matter, it can also be used as an ECDL Study Guide. Students who want to gain the ECDL Qualification can still do so using an ECDL testing centre, but they can also gain the Open Awards Level 2 Certificate in IT User Skills (RQF)

The ECDL Online Course that we offer is an official course for students wanting to study the ECDL content and it is still one of our most popular courses, but we decided to write this article to let our students know of the IT Essentials - Level 2 (RQF) Course, which we believe is an excellent alternative.

If you have any questions about either course then please contact us on