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Flexible Learning


Flexible learning (FL) is a concept that links very closely with elearning. Essentially, FL allows students to make choices about their learning experiences based on their personal circumstances. Learning resources are developed to account for individual learning styles, various times (asynchronous), varying pace, contextualized learning, and flexible place of access (i.e. learning does not happne only on a physical campus). This, obviously, sounds very much like the benefits of elearning.

Course designers should consider FL principles when creating activities and learning tasks for students. Some characteristics: allow for varying pace - keep a schedule, but permit flexibililty, use asynchronous activities where possible, create a pre-test that permits students of varying compentencies to select their entry point into course work, design learning in granular format of 15 - 30 minutes each, etc. Elearning design should permit flexible learning - after all, most students who select elearning do so for the flexibility and ease of access.

Elearning and flexible learning are closely linked. Essentially, elearning is the realization of the theoritial/conceptual components of flexible learning.


Center for Flexible Learning
An excellent introductory resource to the concept of flexible learning. Offers definitions, principles, design support, and resources.

Flexible Learning
"The AFL Framework is a 5-year strategic plan to enhance the vocational education and training (VET) Sector's role in the development of an Australian knowledge economy through the accelerated uptake of flexible learning modes."

Technological and Pedagogical Convergence between Work-based and Campus-based Learning
"Societal changes, competing demands on students’ time, and changing expectations of formal institutions all point to the need for more flexible approaches to how we support learners in higher education. What do we mean by flexible learning? In the broadest sense, flexible learning is about a learner-centred, rather than a teacher-centred approach to learning (Palmer, 2001). In this view, technology is an enabler. However, in many discussions, flexible learning and flexible delivery are used interchangeably. The latter is increasingly associated in the minds of faculty with the adoption of multimedia and web-based technology. As a result, the most effective use of new learning technologies is held back by poor underlying pedagogical assumptions.
Flexibility can have many dimensions. Brown (1999) identifies nine dimensions of flexibility in flexible learning."
Goes on to detail nine areas of flexibility...

"FLOTI is a flexible learning initiative by Bell College that allows you to undertake courses of study in the most flexible manner possible while maintaining academic quality."

U of Australia - Flexible Learning Center
Good resources - especially templates and learning/teaching guides.

Open Learning Agency
"Welcome to the Open Learning Agency, where you'll find an organization dedicated to learning that fits...your ambitions, your workplace, your life.
To us, Open means more than distance learning. It means recognition for non-traditional learning. It means working with communities, employers, and individuals here in British Columbia and around the world to develop unique and responsive programs. It means helping you manage the place, the pace, and the format for your learning needs.


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