IBLC11-Abstract-Enhancing the Blended Learning Experience through Flexibility
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16 May 2011
Author: Dr Claire Eustance
Few would argue with the notion that flexibility (often found coupled with words like personalisation and agility) is essential to operating in these challenging times especially with regard to meeting the needs of work-based learners, international students and students from outside the traditional demographic/educational background. Embracing flexibility meaningfully can however require a significant change to the organisational mindset. In many institutions there remains a hierarchy between ‘standard provision’ (shorthand for full-time, campus-based learning) and ‘non-standard provision’ (shorthand for everything else). Projects in the JISC Curriculum Design programme are developing blended learning approaches to address these challenges. To name but a few examples: Manchester Metropolitan University is making graduate employability central to all courses and Leeds Met is using coaching approaches to personalise blended delivery for work-based learners. Bolton is developing a business model based on Open Learning whereby learners combine free self-directed learning with chargeable support and accreditation in a blend that suits them and Greenwich University has conducted a review of how it manages overseas partnerships and revealed impediments and constraints that contribute to overseas students having a poorer experience than UK campus-based students. Using the Greenwich approach as a starting point, and drawing on examples from other projects, we will look at how a drive for greater ‘flexibility’ has placed improving the entire learning experience for all types of learner at the heart of an agenda for change. Workshop participants will have the opportunity to discuss a range of examples at the same time as developing hands-on experience of one of the key techniques used by Greenwich to effect meaningful stakeholder engagement.
Keywords: Flexibility; employability; internationalisation; personalisation; stakeholder engagement