Sunday, March 6, 2011

Activity 2 - What is Flexible Learning?

To complete Activity 2 I thought it importat to define the context in which I teach as the awnsers to these questions are all relative to discipline. A mind map seemed like a good way to start. The words highlighted in green were characteristics of the learners that I teach that potentially could become areas to develop flexibility and these charateristics were

  • Mature students

  • School leavers

  • Kinaesthetic learning style

  • Visual Learning style

  • Students who are unsure of the direction of their future studies

With all that in mind I answered these questions.

What does flexible learning mean to you?
To me Flexible Learning, is about making learning more accessable for the learner, giving the learner more choices and control over their study. Thus with flexibility embedded there are different options, successes, and values in the experience of study.

Why is it nessisary to use a more flexible approach in your work?
In the mind map when I identified the types of learners in my course I identified 2 main groups - school leavers and mature students. However within those two groups there is a great deal of variation and difference, for example many of the students that are part of the school leavers group have left school early. They are 16 and 17 years old and did not complete year 13. I have noticed that the early school leavers tend to be less focused, they have pre-concieved ideas (often negitive ones) about learning based on their experiences at high school, have high digital literacy but poorer writing skills. They can pick up things quite quickly if they are taught in the right way, but don't have the same level of maturity or selfawareness as perhaps the school leavers who completed year 13. Therefore one of the main reasons for using more flexible approach is simply because to the huge diversity of learners that are taking the course. It is important to bend to the needs of of our students

What do you need to explore to help this happen?
To help facilitate more flexible learning areas that require flexible learning must be identifyed. Perhaps a survey designed to identify areas that have the potential for flexible approaches to be developed.

What goals do you have for using flexible learing in your work?
Initally I thought of developing more resources in the form of - slide shows/lectures, using moodle and developing instructional/demonstraitive videos. But resources are one of the 5 areas of flexibile approach(Collis,Vingerhoets and Moonen, 1997) and I see potenial in the areas of 'Instructional approach' aswell. I often work one on one with students and I find this highly effective but quite exhausting. Maybe facilitating or bring in more group/peer work is a way to maintain the close connection that I believe is important but not be so taxing on the teacher.

Collis,B. & Mooner, J. (2001).Flexible Learning in a Digital World. Open and Distance Learning Series. London: Kogan Page Ltd.

1 comment:

Bronwyn hegarty said...

you have identified some key areas in your analysis of your learners. The diversity is broad indeed, and this must provide for some interesting dynamics and interactions in the class. I will be very interested to see how your ideas unfold, particularly in the 'Instructional approach' area you identify.

Perhaps you can harness the high level of digital skills in the school leavers to help add to the bank of resources you mention. Pair them up with the more mature and less digitally skilled students in peer activities which will build on the strengths of each group.

Have you thought about riding down Fred's path of using cellphones to capture learning events? Setting up a mobile to send images and video to flickr, blogger, Facebook or youtube is easy peasy. Students could have individual accounts and maybe you might want to set up a class account on these platforms so resources are easily shared.