Flexible Learning (not) in Wikipedia!

19 10 2006

Flexible Learning. The term crops up a lot in education circles, particularly with reference to the world of educational technology, online education, and providing learners with choices about when and where they choose to learn. The specific term “flexible learning” gets almost 1.5 million hits in Google, and is interwoven into the fabric of Australian and international educational technology, as evidenced by organisation names like the Australian Flexible Learning Framework, my department, Flexible Learning Solutions, or Macquarie’s Centre for Flexible Learning. Google Scholar lists almost 9,000 books and scholarly papers on the topic of Flexible Learning, with many dating back over a decade documenting the need for implementing Flexible Learning systems and approaches in education.

That’s why I was astounded to discover that, despite a prolific edublogosphere of technology-savvy educators, experimenting with all manner of online, computer-based, and mobile tools… there is no Wikipedia article on Flexible Learning.

Despite my astonishment, I was worried about writing this post. Perhaps it’s just me? Am I the only educator in the world who makes a distinction between Flexible Learning and, say, E-Learning (which does have a Wikipedia article)? For me, E-Learning is an enabler of Flexible Learning, but it isn’t the same thing; Flexible Learning is a philosophy about giving learners choices about when and where they learn, using whatever tools (online, computer based or mobile) facilitate that choice, rather than nominally tying learning to a particular technology or set of technologies.

Anyway, I have created the stub of an article on Flexible Learning and I’d really appreciate contributions from anyone who’s interested. Please pass the word on to anyone you feel might have something to add to the Wikipedia account of what many of us consider our profession!

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