INF532: Flexible Learning is Awesome

I have realised that my blogs have been a bit negative in tone and so I wanted to write one that was positive about the course and some of the things I have learned so far.

CSU’s uImagine page on flexible and adaptive learning¬†really resonated with me in its goal to help learners prosper on their own path. I have a background in sport and to me this spoke of the ‘coaching’ approach I have grown up used to, where the coach was there to help you achieve your goals in a symbiotic relationship.

I think this is different to the more reactive approach I have taken to teaching previously where I was very willing and happy to assist students but only reactively when they asked for help. I am personally never likely to ask for help and so through my approach, I am ignoring students like me.

coach has water poured over him by happy players
A coach celebrating with his team following their success


So how do I tackle being more proactive? I think there is a level of extra engagement required with your students in reaching out to help understand their experience so that you can activate that existing knowledge base. This is one of the ‘First Principles’ of instruction discussed by Merrill (2002). The next step is demonstrating the knowledge in ways that activate different parts of the brain. This course has exposed me to a raft of new tools for me to do this and the things you need to focus on to ensure the tools you use actually achieve you goals. Claire has a great blog about the need to invest in pre-production to improve the quality and effectiveness of your multi-media resources.

I am going to be a better teacher as a consequence of this course and the interactions I have had within it ūüôā


Merrill, M. D. (2002). First principles of instruction. Educational Technology, Research and Development; New York, 50(3), 43.

Is the flexible learning utopia within reach for work-based learning?

There are some wonderful resources that describe the benefits of different learning approaches such as flipped or blended learning.

Souto (2014) discusses how immersive and authentic learning environments, such as simulations, visualizations, and augmented reality can engage and motivate the students.

But you have to question if this is possible for large work organisations. I had a recent conversation where a group of people were really excited to move to online learning as it meant they didn’t need to find people to teach their course. They acknowledged that most online learning is just tick and flick and that they would need to invest to create interactive learning but they had no plan (or budget) to keep the resource up-to-date or follow up with students to find out how the learning could be improved.

In Todhunter’s (2013) article about the¬†limitations of online learning, he suggests that the terms used for online learning meant that there was not enough uptake of it. Ironically, in my experience, the terms being used are causing too many people to turn towards online learning at the expense of student focused outcomes.

This observation is nothing new: pedagogy if misunderstood leads to fads in education. But the workplace is very different to schools and universities and the perverse outcomes of flexible learning so far appears to be that it allows workplaces the flexibility support quality teaching.


Souto, V. T. (2014). A Framework for Designing Interactive Digital Learning Environments for Young People. In K. Blashki, & P. Isaias (Eds.), Emerging Research and Trends in Interactivity and the Human-Computer Interface (pp. 429-447). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-4623-0.ch022

Todhunter, B (2013)¬†LOL ‚ÄĒ limitations of online learning ‚ÄĒ are we selling the open and distance education message short?¬†Distance Education,¬†34(2), pp. 232-252.