|This fourth topic explores some of the drivers behind flexible and mobile learning as well as what flexibility entails for both students and educators. The 21st century has seen a change in student demographics. The student body is increasingly diverse, for example – since many students are learners who may have work and family schedules in addition to study commitments, attending traditional face-to-face classes in a college or university may not always be possible. Ubiquitous networked computer technology, the growth of the Internet and the widely used personalized technologies as well as social media provide multiple platforms for cooperation and co-learning. This has given rise to added opportunities for both students and educators, in a time of increasing uncertainty in the educational landscape. You will be encouraged to reflect on possible challenges and opportunities that flexibility has for learning and education in general, from an individual as well as collaborative and organizational perspectives. Mobile learning, on the other hand, is more than just using a mobile device to communicate with others or to access course content – it is about the mobility of the learner, the fact that learners nowadays are mobile. Reaching a consensus about what mobile learning really is has been very hard, because of the rapid evolution in this field, but also because mobile learning seems to work best when it is part of something else.
Activities/tasks for all learners
Check out the suggested resources below and in Diigo. You may also conduct your own search and share resources you find useful.
Discuss aspects of flexible and mobile learning in your professional context with peers in the ONL G+ Community – and comment on each other’s contributions!
Twitter (optional): If you are interested please discuss about this topic also on twitter! We encourage you to make at least one tweet during the topic. Remember to use the hashtag #ONL161 when tweeting. (If you want to know more about twitter we suggest you to view Alastairs video What is Twitter?)
Reflect on how and why you would enable elements of flexible and mobile learning. What is your target group of students like? How do you use your learning spaces, virtual as well as on campus? Are there opportunities for further development in this area you have now identified as a result of your engagement in this topic? .
For guidance on PBL group work including the FISh design, please see Learning activities. Choose one of the scenarios below:
Scenario 1: Posted in a discussion forum in a teachers’ community:
Scenario 2: “Together with a colleague I have developed a blended learning course design in a higher level education course. In the course design we want to offer students a high level of flexibility in their learning. We realized however that this is not so easy. We have divided course content into several modules and when we move from one module to the next we aim for all course participants to be ready to move on. If they have not grasped first level module content of the second will be more difficult to digest. Thus, we considered there is a need for deadlines for submissions so that we can check progress of participants. For learning activities that depend on collaboration, deadlines also seemed to be needed. Even if the group work tasks were designed so that they could be performed asynchronously; course participants that contributed to a discussion online were expecting activity from their group mates, and if they did not see any activity they became annoyed. In my opinion, the more deadlines and the stricter the rules for how to perform the learning activities, the less flexibility in the learning. I reflect over whether flexible learning has to be individual learning activity and not so much collaboration.”
By the end of this topic, you will have had the opportunity to
1. explore drivers for flexible and mobile learning
2. discuss benefits and challenges of flexible/mobile learning in your professional context
3. inquire into flexible/mobile learning related to a specific scenario
WEBINAR with Dr Martha Cleveland Innes, Professor and Chair of Centre for Distance Education at Athabasca University. Please see the event page.
Monday 21 March 10-11 CET
Please check your local time: