As promised I am going to provide an overview of the 2007 book by Badrul Khan called Flexible learning in an information society. I have decided to read each chapter systematically and post a regular overview of each chapter....this will be hard as already I am finding my views are different to those of the author. Hopefully my reviews will challenge your thinking about FL as well.

This is what the publisher (Idea Group Inc) says about the book - you can read bits of it for yourself on Google Books.
"This book uses a flexible learning framework to explain the best ways of creating a meaningful learning environment. This framework consists of eight factors - institutional, management, technological, pedagogical, ethical, interface design, resource support, and evaluation; a systematic understanding of these factors creates successful flexible learning environments"--Provided by publisher.

Well chapter one - Flexible learning in an open and distributed environment - starts off with some basics about flexible learning and quotes and information from authors I was unfamiliar with - so far so good. The definition of flexible learning on the first page pretty well covers every thing you can think of about FL. Mmmn thorough but what stood out for me was the question - "Can we do what learners want?"

For me this is the most important question we can ask about FL. More on this later.

In Chapter one the reader is helped with lots of terms around FL though I believe the "dimensions of the blend" are a bit over the top, particularly the last item - blending learning, practice and performance support - probably due to the complicated language. I don't particularly like the differentiation between online and offline learning.

It takes a while to get to the framework which I expect the book is all about (it is on the front cover). The eight categories of FL are extensive and each is treated as equal unlike the model used in Flexible learning in a digital world by Collis and Moonen. If you recall in their model the institution was wrapped around implementation, which surrounded pedagogy and technology.

Being a fan of osmosis (it helps us to keep balance in our bodies), I am more used to models which allow each component to interact with the other components - so that
influences move backwards and forwards. For example, in the Collis and Moon model technology and pedagogy are influenced by each other. In the presentation of the Khan model each aspect of the framework appears to stand alone although the author states they are interrelated. To present a diagram which appears closed and then to state it is an open system is quite confusing for the reader. Perhaps my need for a visual resource is why I would prefer a diagram of the framework demonstrating how each category is linked. But maybe this is revealed in ensuing chapters.

The categories are very relevant though ethical could possibly be replaced with sociological, and this would then take cultural, social and ethical aspects into consideration. Interface design and pedagogical could be replaced by design as one category.

I think some of the questions the author uses to address issues within subcategories are a bit weak and mixed up. For example, "does the course make an effort to reduce the use of jargon, idioms, ambiguous or cute humour and acronyms" (p 11) is related by the author to interface design when it gives an example of how some icons mean different things in different cultures. Basically it is also an ethical/sociological dilemma but how do you choose which category it should fit? And does it matter? Surely good design should take into account all factors which might impact on sociological aspects of learning and be sensitive to all learners needs?

Now to read on, but after Grey's Anatomy........................I would love to hear your thoughts on my interpretation of this chapter. Of course you will only be able to read to p 5 so this could be difficult. do you agree with what I have said so far and why or why not? I can take it.


Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.| Header image by Leigh Blackall | Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.