Sunday, May 24, 2009

Measuring Flexible Learning - Breadth and Depth

We are thinking about how to establish benchmarks and measure progress in flexible learning across the Tas Polytechnic - 16 campuses and 1500 teaching staff. But before we can decide on some key performance indicators we need a common and agreed definition of flexible learning.

Flexible learning is often defined as providing learners with choices about where, when, how - and sometimes what - learning occurs. The goal is personalised learning that meets the needs of each and every student - both on and off campus.

The degree of flexible learning that an educational organisation can provide will depend on a range of factors including:

  • learning, teaching and assessment principles and practice
  • facilities and support structures
  • course and learning designs
  • learner engagement and responsibility
  • accountability and quality assurance

Strategies which have been used to increase the level of flexibility in learning include:

  • eLearning and Flexible Delivery
  • Flexible/Open Learning Options
  • Curriculum/Training Package Frameworks
  • Learning Environment/Space Design
  • Professional Learning, Sharing and Collaboration
  • Facilities and Infrastructure for Access and Equity
One objective of the Tasmanian Polytechnic is to "establish flexible learning as part of every teacher's repertoire" - broadening the availability of flexible learning options beyond 'champions', early adopters and specialist areas and deepening the degree of flexible learning beyond the provision of simple content and delivery alternatives.

Flexible learning is not new to the organisation. Many - if not most - teachers already provide some form of choice for learners and there are numerous examples of individuals, teams and learning areas that provide very effective and innovative options for personalised learning, learning spaces and learner support. We need to learn from these and 'mainstream' them.

There are many examples of flexible 'elearning' including some that not only offer content, delivery and communication choices but go deeper to collaboration, reflective assessment and blended learning.

The Australian Flexible Learning Framework suggests a range of elearning indicators that we could adapt for measuring flexible learning. A number of these could use data that is already being collected to establish some early benchmarking.

Does anyone know of any other measures or KPI lists for flexible learning in that go beyond superficial adoption of ICTs?

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