Monday, March 17, 2008

Week 3, Why do we need flexible learning?

Some of the reasons for Flexible Learning.

Offering short courses in selected units may lead into part or full time courses being taken up by the student. In offering the selected unit or course the advertising of the path of study is increased, raising the profile of the course and the institution.
Being prepared with adequate resources to cover the specific needs of each learner on the selected courses in technology based information so as to cut down the lecturers need for constant contact.
I would disagree with all resources being "free to air" as in totally on blogger or wiki as you would need to have information re-issued for further short courses you wish to sell.
Short courses or Flexible courses could be linked by there unit standard and students informed as to their progress towards L3 and L4 Cookery qualifications.
(Reference, Leigh Blackall, Flexible learning in New Zealand pt 4)

"Is all this choice a bad idea?"

From my own point of view I take reference from Collis and Moonen but couldn't support all of their views in regard to my own course, being:
Key dimensions in flexible learning, flexibility related to time and content.
These concepts must be synchronized with standard industry practice and diverting the course to a more flexible delivery may dilute the discipline needed by industry for these two outcomes.
Where as their views in regard to entry requirements, that has been already decided at the board level and I feel that is a mostly economic argument so not easily argued with.
Flexibility related to instructional approach and resources and delivery and logistics are fluid concepts especially as technology is made more available, gets more advanced and is excepted by institutions and students so should be accepted as being part of any course and updatable as and when required.

What situations can I site to support my position.

That is very easy, my own course, as we do have part time students also people who wish to complete part of, or finish their qualification as a chef and if we weren't flexible in our approach to our course the student would have to enroll in the complete year and re-do units already achieved. I don't believe however there should be any difference in the structure or assessment criteria between those on distance or part time courses and our full time programe students expected results.
4 - very good - several examples of this type of learning mentioned with reference to several readings and discussion of ideas from the readings and relevance to their practice


Leigh Blackall said...

wow that was fast! Monday must be your do day :) Good post, gets all the ticks, nice to see you are having no trouble keeping up so far. If you have time, look ahead a bit in the schedule, it will heat up in a few weeks. Better to get prepared when all is quiet :)

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

oops deleted my last comment by accident...

It is great to see flexible delivery programme that is at a suitable pace for busy lives. I am interested in knowing how to offer flexibility in vocational aimed courses. We at the school of OT seem to have a compulsory element to our teaching for example, if you fail you have to resit the paper. Perhaps we need to think of this is not your area of strength try this paper instead? More choice however, more work for the staff member?

Bronwyn hegarty said...

Good ideas Chef. One of the things we all need to be wary of when introducing flexibility is the ROI - return on investment. Sometimes we are so busy trying to be ultra flexible that the cost-effectiveness of the course/programme might be compromised.

So as you say, it is important to look at how the profile of the course is enhanced to attract more learners and also see where "teaching' can be made more efficient.

For example, is it more worthwhile to students to have lots of long, face-to-face lectures and practical sessions? or will they get more out of short f2f sessions and more time to review material and practice skills in their own time?

Too much choice can cause chaos for learners, particularly if they are in very unfamiliar territory. some crave lots of structure and a prescriptive format, others like freedom to make their own choices.

It is certainly worthwhile taking time to explore learning styles and preferences of students in the early days of a class.

You give a very good example, of how flexibility with enrollment is so important when catering to learners' needs.

Carolyn said...

Thanks for comment on my blog. Glad you liked the resource I found. I have added a link into the websites list on the course wiki. I don't use MAC but I kind of wish I did as I know MAC lovers rave about them. Look forward to hearing more about the editing suite you mentioned.