Saturday, April 12, 2008

Week 5. Examples of Flexible Learning - Part time, Block, Blended

Impressions of Historical Context for Flexible Learning.
I would like to give my impression of a correspondence course I completed about 10 years ago through an Australian provider on Wine Making.
Although the research in grape varieties had to be quite in depth and learning from wine reference books, given specific details to look for was interesting my overall impression was the "Learning Outcomes" could have just as easily been achieved by my own reading and critiquing of the given wines.
I think the whole reason that flexible learning has moved forward can be put down to the access of technologies and the delivery in different media formats that keep tactile and kinesthetic learners (such as chefs) interested and coming back for more.
If I had half the resources to pull from 10 years ago as we do now I would have gotten twice as much out of that course as I did.
One definite I can see is the down turn in very basic education in school leavers and the under 20 age group. Basic maths and literacy skills (I believe) are no where near what would have been expected 10-15 years ago.
Is this because of open entry? The student knows he/she can get on their chosen course so the need to meet a higher standard becomes less important or does it stem from NCEA where again "I believe" the re-sit mentality doesn't push the learner hard enough to achieve a higher standard. We can have in place all the flexibility we want but if the student arrives with a total lack of the fundamentals are they going to achieve the required outcomes, or are we going to spend all our and their time getting them up to the required level.
Is this "Old School" ranting from someone who is new to education and I should go with the PC flow or do I have a point and maybe a little injection of discipline is what is needed to get generation Y motivated.
Teacher Conceptions of Blended Learning and Teaching
Higher education has embraced the E-learning concept as a fundamental way of helping students learn.
Even campus based courses are increasing E-learning technologies to improve the students learning experience.
To quote directly: "the teacher may have little time, resource, knowledge or inclination to attend to the integration sufficiently" or maybe in some cases the teachers would like to implement more flexible and e-learning practices but are hamstrung because of funding issues or support from the institution. After reading the paper I have no doubt for the need to move forward in our e-learning/teaching but can this be achieved in some economic environments? My reaction is the fact we will be left behind when we could be the first and best at certain types of delivery but are being taken over by other institutions with more vision and resources.
Or again maybe it's me with the usual Chefs attitude of, "It should be done yesterday"
3 - average - provides examples of online learning and distance learning, mentions correspondence

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

I wonder about the falling literacy in school leavers, and like you wonder if it is NCEA. Is that a failing experiment? Or is it something to do with the cell phones and texting and txt speak? Do people who communicate in this abbreviated way undervalue proper spelling, grammar and punctuation because they haven't needed it and don't see the value in it? It is a worry. But OP are trying to do something about this now and have a committee looking at literacy and how we communicate and and can perhaps support students to get up to speed without having to actually offer extra literacy courses. Jean Patterson from the midwifery school is on this group and was talking to us about it on Thursday.