A MODEL OF FLEXIBLE LEARNING: THE RECIPROCAL AND CONNECTED RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN STUDENTS, LECTURERS, RESOURCES AND CONTEXTS

Bostock, John (2016) A MODEL OF FLEXIBLE LEARNING: THE RECIPROCAL AND CONNECTED RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN STUDENTS, LECTURERS, RESOURCES AND CONTEXTS. INTED 2016, 7th-9th March 2016, Valencia.

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Abstract

In flexible and open models of education, students and lecturers experience a virtual sense of separation that is caused by more than physical distance between students and lecturers. Transactional distance is “a psychological and communications gap, a space of potential misunderstanding between the inputs of lecturer and those of the student” created in part by the physical distance inherent to online learning (Moore 1991, "Transactional Distance,"). A large transactional distance such as that between geographically dispersed students and lecturers in an asynchronous, text-based, online learning environment may contribute to students’ feelings of isolation and disconnectedness, which can lead to reduced levels of motivation and engagement and, consequently, attrition. When designing e-learning experiences, lecturers must consider two variables that affect transactional distance: structure and dialogue. Structure refers to the flexibility or rigidity of the pedagogical methods and strategies used in an e-learning experience. Dialogue refers to the interaction between the lecturer and student during an e-learning experience. Moore does not suggest that either structure or dialogue are inherently good things. Each may be appropriate in different circumstances and a typical educational event such as a conventional lecture will, at a micro-level, move constantly between the two. Another dimension of the theory suggests that more autonomous students, being self-directed, are better able to cope with more structure while less autonomous students benefit more from greater dialogue. This paper explores a proposed model of flexible learning which attempts to inform practitioners of the fluid, reciprocal and connected relationships between students, resources, contexts and lecturers. This helps explain and justify a reconceptualization of the role of the lecturer and suggests how social activity is also pivotal in successful learning outcomes for students. The experiences of some students are examined which, in turn, appear to further a review of support and assessment processes in order to effectively meet their needs. Keywords: Transactional Distance, Flexible Learning, Dialogue, Structure, Meta-Cognition

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Proceedings)
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Divisions: Education
Date Deposited: 04 Mar 2016 11:44
URI: http://repository.edgehill.ac.uk/id/eprint/7197

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