Flexible learning is about providing learners with choices regarding where, when and how their learning occurs. It helps to attract and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse range of students and includes making appropriate use of technology to support the learning process.
Potential flexible learners should think about the speed at which they will be able to study and achieve their qualifications (pace); where they want to study (place) and how they want to study (mode) as these are the three key factors to achieving their academic goals successfully. Offering flexible learners choices in these areas also recognizes that individuals are often juggling their study with other commitments and providing choice in the pace, place and mode of delivery can make study a real option when it might otherwise have been impossible.
Some of the main types of flexible learning are known as:
Accelerated study- Accelerated courses are structured to cover all the core study required to obtain a qualification but are delivered over a shorter time period, usually two years instead of three in the case of an undergraduate degree. To compensate for the shorter period students are normally expected to work through the summer.
Part-time/extended study- These qualifications may be particularly suitable for people with other commitments or in employment. Each individual institution’s website will make clear its regulations regarding maximum times allowed to achieve the qualification. Learning and fees are generally spread over a longer period and, thus, will be particularly attractive to learners who are not eligible for a student loan.
Distance learning- As the name suggests, distance learning is study where the student may never physically attend the campus. Students are supported by materials that are paper-based, online or other media, and assessments are submitted remotely. Distance learning is extremely flexible, working as it does across time zones (if necessary) and differing work-based backgrounds.
Blended learning- This term is used to describe study that is undertaken both through physical attendance on campus and use of a virtual learning environment (VLE) and occasionally, still, some paper-based course materials. The different approaches are integrated into one with the idea of combining the best of all. Face-to-face teaching, with its interactive benefits, is combined with any-time access to course materials, increasing flexibility and convenience for students.
Characteristics of flexible learning
1. Flexible access
• admitting students without a traditional educational background or qualifications
• students are allowed to determine when they enter or exit from a course
• allowing students to work independently, attend classes, or a combination of the two
2. Recognition of prior learning
• giving credit for formal or non-formal learning, including work experience and training and using this individual experience to develop a suitable course of study
3. Flexible content
• Breaking courses into modules that students can take as they need.
4. Flexible participation
• Instructors and support staff available at all times that are convenient to students.
• Communication can be face-to-face or asynchronous, one-on-one or open, timetabled or on-demand.
5. Flexible teaching and learning methods
• The delivery mode is set using a combination of the requirements of the subject and the needs of the individual learner.
• Learning is individualized and collaboration is encouraged.
What to consider before making a decision to study through flexible learning:
• Can I study alongside other commitments?
• Will I have a choice in the modules I take up to study in each semester?
• Will I be credited for modules completed in my previous qualification?
• Can my work experience be credited against my course?
• If I move to another country would I be able to continue with my studies?
• Is flexibility learning cheaper than full-time?
What kind of support to expect during flexible learning:
• Financial support
a) Student loans
b) Payment options
c) Bursaries, Scholarships or grants
• Academic support
a) Tutor session (contact or online)
b) Career advise
c) Virtual learning environment (live stream classes)
d) Online assignments
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Regenesys business school has obtained over 120 000 alumni students who have all studied through their own study method being; contact full or part-time and distance study options. http://bit.ly/qualopts
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Regenesys also has financial and academic staff members who fully support students at their point of need and expectation.
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