Flexible learning in the digital age

I think flexible learning is good, but I also find it very difficult. I think I am a quite organized person, however, the learning opportunities in this case are unlimited, and I still haven’t found out how to set limits and restrictions. Maybe it will get easier when I am more used to it. Probably flexible learning is here to stay. According to the Higher Educational Academy (Ryan and Tilbury) flexible learning is about “enabling choice and responsiveness in pace, place and mode of learning”. When I am thinking about flexible learning I think about the aspects; when (pace), where (place), and how (mode of delivery). The flexibility should be there for the students as well as for the teachers. One should really think twice before deciding which method to use for a course, there are pros and cons for both face to face teaching and flexible online learning (University of Washington). Maybe a mixture of both methods would do the trick? However, in both cases there need to be clearly stated learning outcomes and alignment.

It seems difficult to have get-together sessions and discussions when a course is flexible. People have different schedules and habits; they are online at different times. Also digital literacy can make it hard, people are at different levels. Learners also have different goals with the courses they attend; that might be very obvious when it comes to flexible learning and some collaborative work should be done.

What platforms should be used, and which should be chosen for a certain activity? Since I am new in this, I like to use Google+, learn how it works and how to make the most out of it. There is the possibility to write comments in the groups where I participate and we have tried a hangout. I have also just started to use Padlet in a small group from the PBL.

I followed the twitterchat on Wednesday. There were some interesting comments but I also found that threads got lost because of the media, it goes too fast and the writing is too short. However, it gives an idea of “in which direction the wind is blowing”.

There are many suggestions to different platforms in the FDOL groups. A lot of the participants are far more experienced in this field then I am. I try to save as many links and collect as many names of platforms and suggestions of how to use them as I can, good for the future. Up till now the platforms of the FDOL course and Padlet are quite enough for me to handle.

I think that having some kind of discussion with video and audio would make it easier to collaborate on-line afterwards. At least that was what happened in our PBL-group, after having a, non-very successful, hangout. We noticed that it was easier to write comments and discuss with those that had participated in the hangout, and the tone changed.

According to Ryan and Tilbury learner empowerment is an important pedagogy in flexible learning. It involves co-creation, something that might challenge teachers and change the old dynamics of learning interaction. Three of us in the PBL group are trying to work together on a specific topic. We haven’t agreed on what yet,” challenges with collaborative synchronous learning” has been proposed by one of the facilitators. I think the subject is great and we can use our own experiences from the FDOL course. We haven’t agreed on how we should work either. We now have a private group on Padlet where we can put in comments and suggestions. The challenge is to move further…

Ryan A and Tilbury D. Flexible pedagogies: new pedagogical ideas. http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/assets/documents/flexiblelearning/Flexiblepedagogies/new_ped_ideas/npi_report.pdf

University of Washington. Leading change in public higher education. http://www.washington.edu/provost/files/2012/11/edtrends_Pros-Cons-ClassFormats.pdf


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