Where in the World is Flexible Learning? An examination of the spaces and places of learning


Presentation Given At: 2015 Symposium on Scholarly Teaching & Learning in Post-Secondary Education


Presenters: Dr. Arthur “Gill” Green, Dr. Derek Turner, Dr. Loch Brown


Date Presented: November 13, 2015


Link: http://2015symposiumonscholarlyinquiryi.sched.org/event/31st/research-bites



This research examines where and how learners interact with Flexible Learning (FL) technologies. FL is defined as a learner-centered pedagogic approach “offering the student choices in how, what, where, when and with whom he or she participates in learning-related activities” (Collis and Moonen 2011, 15). Despite the promise, there is a paucity of research on the “where” element of FL – mostly focused on campus-based, technology-rich learning spaces rather than increasing mobility of learners and the opportunities mobility provides for teaching and learning (Collis 2010). While higher education institutions widely adopted online learning management systems since the 1990s, a concurrent revolution of increased mobility (technological devices and expanded connectivity) has caused a ground shift in the ways that teachers and learners use technology in their everyday lives. These changes provide new modalities for interacting with course materials, other learners, and experiential learning opportunities (Salmon 2011). They also question whether FL is fulfilling its promise to enhance access through expanding the geography of learning. After all, where learning occurs influences how activities engage the affective, cognitive, and psychomotor learning domains, and is an important question for the discipline of geography wherein fieldwork is emphasized (Boyle et al. 2007, Lynch et al 2008, Herrick 2010). In this research, we use learning analytics, web analytics, surveys, field observation, and semi-structured interviews to examine the places (e.g. home, campus, transport, or cafes) and spaces (e.g. distances to university and spatial clustering of students) in which FL occurs.



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