Wednesday, June 3, 2015

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?


6 comments:

  1. Nice and reflective post. Like the methaphor of gardenign, which quite often are used and elaborated on
    Like also the start of your blog about flexible learning...learning that matches your lifestyle...so true and also simple, so why make education and teaching complicated, when it is that simple and natural
    Keep going...
    Caring is sharing, sharing is caring!

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    1. Thank you very much for your nice comment Ebba, I think there is no excuse of not enhancing your self because you can find a way of learning that matches your lifestyle.

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  2. I liked your post very much! We try gardening with variable success. I only wish I had "green fingers". Best wishes and many thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thank you very much for a nice comment Greger, I think you are indeed a good "gardener". During our group activities I can see that you have a lot of brilliant ideas especially formulating the learning outcomes for learners. Best wishes to you too and hope to see you again online:)

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  3. You are indeed right about that an easy-to-understand framework is simplifying our efforts to implement flexible learning. I’m fond of metaphors, and think images from ordinary life always makes abstract concepts easier adaptable. Everyday phenomena are associated with sensations and feelings that we can relate to. “To learn is to grow” and therefore your metaphor makes it easier for us to truly understand the inner core of flexible learning. It is about to nurture and support individual learner's "growing" regardless of individual conditions

    As an old beekeeper, I cannot help another parable ... Many gardeners are fighting an eternal struggle against the "Dandelion" - a flower which is called “weeds”. But I love these beautiful flowers and if caring for them I will be rewarded a thousandfold, because the bees collect wonderful honey from them. There are many human "dandelions" who needs special care ... With a flexible approach to the needs of everyone, we can all get the such rewards! Because "odd" people brings new and fresh ideas, which we need in our uniform world!

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    1. Well said Anne, I agree, you are really fond of metaphors that shows your creative mind and abstract thinking. I guess gardeners should be caring enough to nourish their plants like teachers in nurturing their students to become productive.

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