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For this topic you will be investigating a range of possible strategies, within the five dimensions (time, delivery and logistics, entry requirements, content and instructional approaches and resources) of flexibility (Casey & Wilson, 2005).

Blended learning appears to be preferred by students. However, not everyone can attend classes on campus, and you may wish to try web conferencing. It can be fun and supportive for students. Being an online facilitator does require different skills, and you are advised to get some training and mentoring so you are effective in this type of classroom. Some people may prefer to study without interacting with the class, therefore your materials need to be self-explanatory. A mix of online and paper-based or media materials (e.g., CDRom) may be necessary. The combination of strategies used in flexible learning is generally dependent on several factors: the direction of the organisation, the lecturer's teaching preferences and skills, and most importantly of all, the needs and preferences of the students. However, the approach which is chosen may be driven by tradition and financial constraints or organisational policies, and not by sound pedagogical practice.

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Activity Eight: Flexible learning strategies for your context.

Part One: Explore a variety of strategies.

  • For example, automotive, horticulture, electrotechnology, hospitality, IT, Tourism, and lots more.
  • Explore a variety of alternatives. For example, if you are interested in virtual reality simulations, scenario-based learning, distance or problem-based or project-based learning, or mobile learning etc., take time to look into designing strategies for these learning methods.
  • Discuss options with the course facilitator and participants.
  • Refer again to: the flexibility grid - Table 2.2, p. 7 & 8, and also Appendix 3, p. 41-44 in A practical guide to providing flexible learning in further and higher education by Casey, J. & Wilson, P. (2005).

Part Two: Design and describe strategies for your context.

  • Use the Template for Blended Learning StrategiesPDF down.png - you can access the word version on Moodle.
  • Post your strategies to your blog, explaining why they are going to enhance flexibility for your learners - this post underpins assessment 1.
  • Hint: you can upload your completed template to Scribd and insert a hyperlink to it on your blog. It is best to save as a pdf or Rich Text file.

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Two readings are recommended. Sahin reports on a study where blended learning approaches enhanced student performance in a footwear design course. Heinz and Proctor present two models for designing blended learning and a definition.