Last week I posted a message about the course that I am teaching in relation to "Pedagogies for Flexible Learning supported by Technology". In the mean time most of my students have made their own blog and are writing a post to introduce themselves and a post in which they share some ideas about flexibility and learning. I think it's great that they are doing this. They have just started their studies with me, for most of them it's the first time that they are blogging and they are just doing it! With some very nice results (you can follow them too, see the list of blogs on the right side of this blog)!
The interesting thing is that flexibility as a topic raises many different discussions. Not only about all the different kinds of flexibility that are possible (time, place, pace, content, learning strategies/approaches, etc.), but also in relation to for whom flexible learning is beneficial. In general the idea is that students would benefit most of flexible learning, especially if you follow the statement that my former colleagues Betty Collis and Jef Moonen are making in their book "Flexible Learning in a digital world". They argue that flexible learning is a movement away from a situation in which key decisions about learning are made in advance by the instructor or institution, toward a situation where the learner has a range of options from which to choose with respect to their learning.
Following this statement the idea raises that while flexible learning might be very attractive for students, it is on the other hand very inconvenient for teachers and for the organisation. And of course this argument can be made, because if a teacher has to cope with all the individual choices of each student, teaching will be an even more complicated job than it already is. But on the other hand.. this should not lead to instructors who are (as a response to all the demands) avoiding all kinds of flexibility in their teaching. Applying some level of flexibility can be great: working in your own time, choosing from different pedagogical approaches if you think it is necessary, using different kinds of resources to assure up-to-date information about your course/topic and using different kinds of technology to have an optimal support of your teaching and your students' learning.
The question is of course how to find the right balance..