Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Is flexible learning a new concept?

Collis, Betty, Moonen and Jeff (2001)believe not, saying this is not a new phenomenon. I found this article quite interesting as I must admit I was a little confused as to what I was getting into with this course. Like Carolyn said in her blog and from my readings, flexible learning is often associated with e- learning. I imagined by doing this course I would be learning how to use the internet and software in my teaching. Actually this scared me as been in my 40's, computers were not part of my schooling education. Even now although I have mastered some stuff I still frequently ask my 16 year old for help.

The good thing is I am starting to feel more at ease as I begin to understand flexible learning is a lot broader than this. Collis et al. (2001) explain this quite clearly clarifying it is learner centred and allows students greater flexibility in their learning experience. This makes me more interested in this course because I want my students to learn the best way possible and I'm keen to be more flexible in my approaches, if this helps. Flexible learning could mean more options in the use of resources for my courses, the use of media, e- learning and the type of learning activities I use. It may also mean a looser structure in the timing of assessments and course work.

Considering flexible learning is a lot more than just e-learning, I would argue this is not a new concept although this term has generated a lot of interest. Teaching has for many years required a variety of resources and settings.

In my teaching practice, some things I teach make it quite difficult to be flexible as time is short. Probably the best example of what I am doing in my practice now, is allowing the students freedom in the development of their clinical portfolio to demonstate how they have met the leanring outcomes from the course. I look forward to exploring this topic of flexible learning a lot more over the coming weeks

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