Flexible learning involves a number of pathways to achieve learning objectives and the development of teaching and learning processes maximising outcomes for all learners.
It does not presuppose that any particular teaching and learning approach is superior, nor does it render certain approaches unavailable for use. Rather, flexible learning requires that all teaching and learning approaches should be available for use in the appropriate circumstance.
Implementing flexible learning approaches may involve choices about flexibility in more than one way. Below are a series of dimensions on which those choices may be made.

  • modes of delivery of materials and interaction

  • development of program structure

  • program content

  • pace of the program

  • amount of contact and interaction learners have with the lecturer and each other

  • type and mix of media employed to deliver resources

  • extent of self-direction learners must employ in order to complete the program

  • time and space constraints on access to program materials or other learning experiences

  • Curriculum development involves making choices on various dimensions about delivery modes, materials, resources, assessment and content.
    It is expected that aspects of flexible learning will be employed where developments in disciplinary pedagogy and an assessment of the suitability of the student cohort combine to show such changes would enhance student learning.
    It is desirable that there is a coherent approach to the introduction and development of flexible learning practices at the program level underpinning course design.
    The use of web-based resources provides flexibility that may be introduced into course materials and assessment.
    Use of the web is most effective where it increases and promotes more active engagement and interaction, and/or provides easier or more equitable access by students to university resources, administrative systems and course materials.
    The use of online resources to facilitate flexible learning can occur in a number of ways and at various levels.
    The following broad distinctions, used by DEST for the purposes of reporting about online courses, can be made about the modes of use of the web in course delivery.

  • Web supplemented: Online participation is optional for the student, but information on courses and programs, including course outlines and overviews, assessment information, reading lists and other online resources are made available via the web.

  • Web dependent: Online participation is required for the program. This participation may be by using course material, which contains major educational content, or by interaction and communication between staff and students or among students, or all of these elements. On-campus, face-to-face interactions remain part of the course.

  • Fully online: Where there is no face-to-face, on-campus component, and all content, activities and interactions are integrated and delivered online.

  • While these aspects of web-based flexible learning are all available, it is expected that on-campus, face-to-face interaction will remain a significant feature of undergraduate programs at The University of Queensland.

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