Tag Archives: UBC Flexible Learning Initiative

Challenges of implementing Flexible Learning

9 Apr

I’ve been thinking about flexible learning a lot lately. Flexible learning, according to Wikipedia, is “a set of educational philosophies and systems, concerned with providing learners with increased choice, convenience, and personalisation to suit the learner.” At the University of British Columbia (UBC), they have a flexible learning initiative that focuses on “developing, delivering, and evaluating learning experiences that promote effective and dramatic improvements in student achievement.” The key to the initiative is enabling “pedagogical and logistical flexibility so that students have more choice in their learning opportunities, including when, where, and what they want to learn.”

I am currently working on a project that is moving towards the goal of flexible learning, however, there are some major challenges with implementing such a learning strategy. Here are just some of those challenges that I have faced over the last few months:

  • Redesigning courses to reflect a flexible learning approach. It is about creating a complete network of paths that learners can take to ensure a successful learning experience. To do this successfully, you need to brainstorm numerous scenarios and use tools such as mindmaps.
  • Working with instructors to promote a world of learning outside their classroom. Flexible learning is about giving learners the opportunity to decide what they want to learn, when they want to learn, and where they want to learn. This is an pedagogical mindshift for many instructors who are fearful about losing control of the “learning experiences” they create in the classroom.
  • Find ways to motivate learners that flexible learning is beneficial to them. Perhaps this is the most surprising challenge, but some learners only see learning experiences as classroom based. Many are unmotivated about or fearful of learning outside the traditional classroom setting. For me, it is about giving these learners the skills to be able to learn outside of the classroom – it is not just promoting the idea of choice in learning.
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