2. Flexible pedagogies


Within this topic, we explore some of the drivers behind flexible, online and blended learning. The 21st century has seen a change in student demographic. The student body is increasingly diverse, for example, many students are older learners who may have work and family schedules as well as study commitments, attending traditional face-to-face classes in a college or university may not always be possible. Ubiquitous networked computer technology, the growth of the Internet and the widely use of personalised technologies as well as social media provide multiple-platforms for cooperation and co-learning has given increased opportunity to both students and educators, in a time of increasing uncertainty in the educational  landscape. Participants will be encouraged to explore some of the drivers behind these changes from a personal, institutional and international perspective and challenged to explore a variety of learning and teaching approaches that support aspects of flexible pedagogies.

Scenario (as an animation, text and audio)

“I have signed up for this online course to do an undergraduate course that is not available near to where I live. I am also busy professional and have a family. I don’t really have time to waste. I have to say, the course is really challenging. I have no idea who my ‘classmates’ are, I seem to be working in isolation and my tutor seems to be a ghost. I have to wait days to hear from him to get any answer and it makes it extremely challenging to plan my time. I have only time on the weekends to do the assignments. Is this how it should be? There is some written guidance online but none of it is relevant to my situation… and some of it seems out of date too. Is anybody actually checking what I am doing? Not sure at all how I am doing and if I should continue to course. Very close to give up but I really need the qualification for my work!”

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of this topic, you will have had the opportunity to

  1. explore drivers for flexible pedagogies
  2. discuss benefits and challenges of flexible pedagogies in your professional context
  3. identify opportunity to make your courses more flexible based on an informed rationale.

Pick ‘n’ mix activities Definitely do one of the following activities! If you are learning within a group/with a learning partner consider carrying out one of the below as a collaborative task. Remember to share on Twitter and in the other community spaces.

1. Responding: Create a response to the scenario on your own or with others based on the discoveries you made through investigating this and communicate this to the course community. Remember, you could use the FISh model. Engage in a conversation around the scenario. (ilo-1)

2. Reflecting: Think about flexible pedagogies and reflect on your current practice. Where are the challenges and opportunities? What could you do to help your students? (ilo-2)

3. Making: Come up with a plan to introduce more flexibility to your courses? Create a visualisation. Consider using a mindmapping tool (ilo-3)

Suggested readings

1. Motives for lifelong learners to choose web-based courses by Ron Mahieu and Simon Wolming, available here

2. Flexible pedagogies: new pedagogical ideas by Alex Ryan and Daniella Tilbury, available here


One comment

  1. The FOS Bonus Activity is here:

    How flexible are you?

    Working with a colleague please create a ‘thinglink’ demonstrating flexibility in action https://www.thinglink.com/ You could be even more flexible and choose another tool.

    Please add to your portfolio and include the link to this. This can lead to FOS points 🙂

    Activity contributed by Neil Withnell


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