Topic 4: Reflection for Flexible & Mobile Learning

Learning that Matches your Lifestyle....

     picture of my old laptop way back 2009 at Misurata University, Libya with roses given by a student
As an educator, everytime I heard flexible learning I always think of it as learning that matches your lifestyle. Before, we have to adjust and find time to go to school but now it became a business-based that the students are being considered as customer where they can learn with their own free will. 

When I was trying to look for some resources to contribute in our PBL Group discussion about how to design flexible learning to make people happy and comfortable, I found an interesting article that catches my interest  in relation to flexible learning. Though the article is not recently published, I really like the way the author represents her own framework for flexible learning. It is like making the term "flexible learning" easier to understand.

In the article “Growing Knowledge: How to Support Collaborative Learning e-Discussions in Forum Systems” by Eva Rydberg Fåhræus, she compared learning into gardening where she stated that “Gardening is a fruitful metaphor for learning and teaching”. Just as a gardener would be acting foolishly if he were to try to affect the growth of a plant by directly tugging at its roots with his hands from underneath the plant, so is the teacher in contradiction with the essential nature of education if he bends all his efforts at directly influencing the student.(Vygotsky, 1926/1997, p. 49).   So just like gardeners.  sometimes they need to use a stick to support a plant or an automatic irrigation system to create a fertile environment in their gardens, teachers can be helped by information and communication technology (ICT) to create a stimulating and effective learning environment and best way to do that is to implement flexible learning.

flexible learning framework
Since most of the participants in our PBL group 4 are teachers and majority are not yet familiar in implementing flexible learning, the framework that was proposed in this article can be a good start point to familiarize flexible learning. As the author discusses, when we plan for a flexible course, we normally have a group of students who want to learn something, we have the content, and the course is to be arranged within a certain organization. If we do not have the students from the beginning, we normally have an idea about which category of students we aim at. Therefore, the students, the content, and the organization form the prerequisites for the planning of the course. Depending on these prerequisites, we choose a pedagogic approach, and technology to support our work and the learning process.

I believe that flexibile learning lies within a good framework to make it more effective, if and only if the framework is being applied properly. Based on experience I can say that sometimes the word flexible is being abused by the participants of flexible learning that results to non-compliance of requirements on time and causes burden to the teachers. Thru this maybe we can ask, how can we measure flexibility? Until what extent a learning can be flexible? I can say that no matter how good the course plan is or how complete the resources is but if the students are not using it, therefore, still no value is in use. Hmmm....I guess a good question here can be how to implement freedom with bounderies?


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