Flexibility in teaching and learning can be found in part time study, casual teaching, online learning, assessment of prior learning, & more

What

Flexible learning encompasses any effort concerned with increasing a person’s choice, convenience, and personalisation when teaching or learning a subject. It can be as simple as offering a subject part time or through night classes, where it is normally full time in working hours. Or it can be as complicated as offering an assessment of prior learning and experience so as to accelerate someone through a program. Many people interested in flexible learning have tended to focus on how online learning can improve flexibility, such as it being a form of distance learning.

Why

Some courses and many learning activities can benefit from more flexibility in involvement. Teachers and students can avoid long commutes, or even complete relocation if activities that require face to face interaction are brought together in timing and complemented by extensive online preparation and debriefing.

Many people are attempting to juggle multiple commitments while studying, mature aged career changers for example, or a younger student having to work to meet living costs. Flexibility in the timings and locations of learning activities can offer people such as these more options on their commitments. The same can be said for teachers too.

Some people have extensive experience relevant to the field of study, and might appreciate an opportunity to demonstrate these before enrolling in a course or program if it meant they might get through the course quicker or with less expense.

How

How we design for these and many other needs really depends on what we’re trying to do. It can be helpful to do a Personas activity followed by a Course Mapping to help refine the objectives of the design. Some things such as a flexible assessment arrangement will need consultation with a Course Coordinator, Associate Dean Academic and a Senior Learning Advisor in Teaching and Learning.

Examples

 

  1. Hangouts on Air to create instructional videos (School of Media and Communication)
  2. Online portfolios for professional communicators (School of Media and Communication)
  3. Teaching assistant Youtube channel (School of Fashion and Textiles)
  4. Networked Learning through Social Media (School of Fashion and Textiles)
  5. Video in microlearning content (School of Media and Communication)
  6. Using a smartphone and Youtube to create and distribute instructional videos (School of Fashion and Textiles)
  7. Google+ Communities for augmented classrooms (School of Media and Communication)

Featured image: by Horia Varlan via Visual hunt / CC BY