dinsdag 4 oktober 2011

Flexible learning

I think not many people think about flexibility when they think  about education. Is this an opportunity missed? According to Collins and Monnen (2001) it is. They differ 5 ways to make education more flexible.

Flexible in time
When following a course you always have deadlines interfering with your personal life. The time and planning of the course or courses require you to adjust your life to the courses insteat of the other way around. This can be arranged different for instance their can be flexibility in the starting and end time of a course. I'm thinking of the example of the 15 year old boy in the book "het puberende brein" who has an yetlag because of the early times the school starts (Crone 2008). Adjusting starting and ending time to the sleeping rhythm of the individual can help. Or for example my own situation with submitting the assignment before the deadline of the flexibilty course. The first deadline I missed because of the time of the course on a wednesday and my studie time on the tuesday. More flexibility with the deadlines can increase my possibility to pass this course.

Flexibility related to content
The background of the learner has an impact on the interrests of the learner. For instance an teacher in middle school has a different interessest for flexibility then a designer of a webbased learning enviroment. The course content can be made flexible for the learner at different topics of the course.  Maybe the learner has a specific preference about the sequence of treating the different topics. The content of a course can be very theoretical but also very practical or maybe the learner wants a combination of theoratical and practical.

Flexibility related to requirements
I'm a trainer of a swimming course at the moment. When you want to participate in this course you have to at least be able to swim more than 2 km in one hour and you have to be able to master all of the swimming strokes. This course has a list of requirements before you can enter the course. Other courses have no requirments at all, if you want to you can enter.

Flexibility related to instructional pproach and resources
When a give a course or teach a subject I'm always thinking what to do with the pedagogy. Do I give a group assignment or an individual assignment? Do we use a digital learning environment or only the book? This is not a flexibile approach because the teacher desides what is teh pedagogys of the course. When I want to teach more flexible I can be flexible with my pedagogy in different ways. I can be flexiblile in organisation of the learning ( face-to-face, induvidual), language (dutch, english or maybe dialect Twents), learning resources ( practicum, internet, books, etc) or instructional organisation ( instuction, assigments, experts model, etc)

Flexibility related to delivery and logisticts
You can learn everywhere and at any time you want, but schools normaly don't work that way. You have a specific time and place and the learner has to be there on time. With flexible learning you can choose to let it go, for example the LOI is a school where you can study in your own time an place.
The WWW nmake it possible for my students to contact me outside the lessons. They can send me a email or they can find information on the ELO ( Electronic learning enviroment). All the assignments and support are on the ELO so the sudents can find and use then whenever they want to. An Elo is a handy when you are trying to make the learning more flexible.

An ELO like blackboard or IT's Learning helps me to be more flexible in teaching. The students can ask questions to me or to each other, they can find information, scaffolds and assignments on the ELO. The ELO I use is It's Learning http://www.itslearning.nl/

Collis, B., & Moonen, J. (2001). Flexible learning; it’s not just about distance. In J. Moonen (Ed.), Flexible learning in a digital world: Experiences and expectations (chapter 1). London: Kogan Page
Crone, E. (2008). Het puberende brein. Bert Bakker

1 opmerking:

  1. Nice overview of flexibility options! The nice thing is that you made it a personal post, you tried to relate the flexibility options that where mentioned by someone else (Collis & Moonen, not Collins & Monnen...) to your own situation. Maybe in future posts you can reflect a bit more on what you have been writing. What do you think about these options?