So that concludes a long week 3. I hope we all used the Easter break well.. I know I managed to finish building our new deck :) as well as squeeze in a little walk in the hills.. oh! and yes, I managed to keep up with what's going on with the participants in this course...

So what IS going on?

Well, at the close of week 3, it looks as if we have just about everyone running with their blogs. It does look as though however, that at least half of the group maybe eating too many chocolate eggs and not getting around to doing their assignments.. if that's you, perhaps put a quick note to your blog to let us know that you are thinking of us, and that you will get to it :)

We do have enough people sinking themselves into the course though, and its great to see blog posts starting to come through that cover the material. Clearly these people will be our leaders and forge ahead with the schedule.

Some notes on the who's who this week:

Athena, on her blog Odyssey has chosen a great theme to write to for her weekly assignments. Athena is the captain on the ship Odyssey and is logging the expedition that is this course. For the 3rd week we have a graphic account of rum rations and floggings to get the crew to heave-ho and haul away for flexible learning. Capt' Athena is clearly talking about the challenges of leading people into flexible learning practice, and offers words of caution about going into things unprepared and too deeply before staff especially have bought into the ideas. We can only move at the pace of our slowest sailor, so-to-speak..

The irrepressible Carolyn from Midwifery is off and racing with her own expansive ideas and thoughts on flexible learning. Not one to be held to a schedule, Carolyn is off into all sorts of territory over week 3, looking at Second Life, issues to do with technology savvy-ness, resources she has found for flexible learning design, individual learning, learning contracts.. and more! Carolyn is an experienced blogger and clearly gets a lot out of the process of researching and writing reflections on what she has found. Thankfully we can too as we follow Carolyn on her journey of investigation and learning.

Many thanks should go to Carolyn for taking the time to read the posts from others in the course, and leaving helpful comments everywhere :) this is great to see, and hopefully others will start doing it too. It can be a very useful way of getting to know one another and helping each other out. The use of an RSS News reader is a very efficient way of keeping up with what others are doing in the course.

Megan covered flexible learning needs in terms of affording student's time to do the other things they need to do in life while studying as a key reason for needing more flexibility in courses like the Midwifery Online project she is a part of.. but Megan also cautioned for the need for structure and reliability in such flexible options which are wise word indeed! Especially for a Department, course, and student base that maybe very new to these flexible learning options. Interestingly, Megan also pointed to a process known as Recognition of Prior Learning in her post - which is something we will get to in week 6 - so its good to know Megan's ready for week 6 :)

Alli B offers thoughts on the need to get to know your market or student base needs well, and considering flexible learning options carefully. Alli presents an interesting example from her own work context for consideration and we can see the training focus of her work and considerations for flexible learning. Already we can see that Alli will be keeping a very pragmatic focus in this course, which is great to see.

At this point I should insert a word of caution for anyone thinking about flexible learning in terms of online learning only. It is a common and limiting mistake to make and needs to be addressed early on. Online learning is a method that is useful for affording flexibility in learning, but it is only one of many methods we might consider. In this course we have chosen to heavily use online learning because we believe that most of the people doing this course have reasonable and regular access to a computer and broadband Internet, and also have very limited time so getting people together at the same time is usually impossible. If this wasn't the case for the majority of the people we meet for this course (or if we didn't think the pressure to get access to these things wasn't beneficial to teaching practitioners generally) then we wouldn't use the online learning methods. We might instead use more correspondence learning, coupled with perhaps teleconferencing.. or we might schedule block education such as in a conference.. or the use of informal learning events.. or a number of other methods we will cover later in the course. So, just a quick word of caution - don't limit your thinking this early in the course, to flexible learning being only about online learning. In many instances, online can be the most inflexible method of all!

Which brings us to Michelle. Michelle picked up on the idea of freer access to learning, and ideas on how to reduce costs and commitments to students. Michelle rightfully asks why more Departments in the Polytechnic have not adopted the models of the Community Learning Centres, such as the Q4U programmes, where anyone can access computer training with limited levels of commitment and financial cost... In the comments that follow Michelle's post we can see ideas further emerging after we pushed past the online learning ideas.

Informal participant Alison has been following up in the rear with a thorough post for week 2. Well worth a read and look through her blog. I hope she will catch up.

Another irrepressible participant is Chef, over at Flexible Frying Pan. He's already into week 4 for crying out loud! Week 3's post focused on his need to align what he considers in flexible learning with industry training expectations. Chef reckons (rightly in my opinion) that by offering more short courses, he may see increased participation in the longer courses. I wonder though, if more short courses for novices through to professionals is enough of a worthy idea in itself and that needing it to lead into participation into longer and more formal courses might not be a need at all... Chef is a solid thinker on flexible learning in his area, and while we may disagree on the level of free access to learning resources, I'm sure he has thought his position through :) Great to see Chef has found the video EPIC 2014 too! Well worth a watch, and something we will look at more in Week 8: The Modern Internet.

So that's a round up from who is up to speed with the course at the close of week 3. We still have quite a number who we hope will catch up with the schedule. Any help from the leaders in getting others up to speed would be greatly appreciated (see participant blog list in the right column of the DFLP course blog - maybe a comment or 6 will drag people back in). Bronwyn and I will be chasing slow pokes up with a few phone calls this week I'd say.

Now, into Week 4: Examples of Flexible Learning - Correspondence, Online and Distance.

2 comments:

  1. Bronwyn hegarty said...

    Great summary Leigh. People are clearly seeing the benefits of flexible learning and coming up with some great reasons why we need FL and have lots of suggestions already for what they might do in their own areas.

    I particularly like Ali's statement: "In order for flexible learning to go forward we need to go back to one of the principles of adult learning: 'What's in this for me?' We need to look at the reasons why 'students' are signing up for online / flexible courses; what are their reasons for learning? What's motivating them?"

    Most people appear to be very aware of the needs of the learner in all of this - and this is paramount! Good work everyone. :)

    Reading of blogs - have you got time?
    My suggestion to people is that if you are finding it hard to get around people's blogs - use the summaries as a guide of who to connect with each week.

    For example, pick two or three or more if you can manage it which capture your interest - read their posts and leave a comment. Makes sure you tick the box to get an email alert and then respond to the comment(s) about your comment. That way we can get a good dialogue going on the blogs around what people are posting on their blogs.

    If you know someone, perhaps become a regular on their blog and pick another one you enjoy reading AND try a new and different one each week as well.

    "What goes round goes round" and it encourages people when they see others are interested in what they are writing.

  2. Language Hub said...

    Hey!

    I think the online learning has made the learning process more flexible and it is the most effectual method.



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