Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Week five - How does flexible learning exist today and where I see it heading in the future.

Ok Im starting to open my mind to this flexible learning lark.
I guess the major problem with anything new is being prepared to change.
After reading the article "Australasian Journal of Educational Technology" I can see the only major stumbling blocks to my perceptions of flexible learning are those which are covered in the following paragraphs.
There are many reasons why new technologies may not be fully integrated into the design of a course: the teacher may have little time, resources, knowledge or inclination to attend to the integration sufficiently, the infrastructure of the university may not be ready to support the technologies needed, or the culture of the discipline, either in disciplinary practice or in pedagogy, may not yet embrace the affordances of technology.
How teachers teach successfully in such contexts, and how approaches to design for such contexts are related to approaches to teaching.
I most certainly have the inclination to alter and enhance my program but find the time and resources available very limited.
In this respect one tends to rely on the historical context of flexible learning to cover course material, that being research & homework based , and now the Internet via our computer suite or at home.
After some thought, and tooing and froing I can see that the future of some tertiary institutions will rely heavily on distance or part time learning. One of my earlier arguments is that course outcomes will suffer and the quality of programs will be compromised producing in my case poor chefs. But in actual fact the standards could and should remain the same as now as the standard still has to be met by the student regardless of how the course is delivered but perhaps the level of commitment might be greater in flexible delivery.
I would have no problem in posting a cookery demo on Utube for students to observe & as long as they had supporting performance criteria then there is no reason why the same result cannot be achieved. An added benefit would be that the student could watch the demo several times before attempting the task. Obviously this would not enable the student to receive live feedback but then again some students would prefer this medium.
Currently at our campus we offer 1 fulltime course, 2 day release programs and a modern apprentice scheme. We find the standards of fulltime students to be far superior than the part timers due to the day in day out repetition of tasks but that will eventually develop in the industry anyway so all is not lost.

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