Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Flexible Learning is no Cake Walk

One of the main things that’s struck me from the following resources (Panel Discussion; Reading; Video) in reference to flexible learning is the need for students to develop the ability to monitor and control their study habits. Without this ability, no amount of flexibility in learning and teaching is going to enable the student to achieve.
One of the most valuable things I’ve done while being an extramural student through both Otago and Massey Universities’ is the need to become absolutely clear as to what it is that I want to achieve from my studies.

Deep and Meaningful

Following Massey’s suggestion I sat down with paper and pen and wrote out my deep and meaningful (to me) reasons for wanting to carry on with my studies. Since that time, three years ago, I’ve come back to that piece of paper on several occasions when my motivation has been...challenged.
Studying as an adult is tough going at times. We all have our ups and downs, when it comes to study and fitting it in around life but if you’re clear in your mind why you’re doing your studies you are better placed to get through those most challenging situations. Write out your whys and come back to them when you need.

Lean on them/me…

Throughout my time studying through Massey I’ve been faced with some pretty hefty life changing situations. Aside from the unwavering support of my wife, extended family and friends, something that has enabled me to stay on track is the “flexibility” and understanding of the teaching staff that I’ve been involved with. When I contacted them about this and that going on in my life they were totally understanding and gave me the extension/s or support that I required in order to stay on track. If I’m to be a successfully flexible teacher, then I need to display an empathy and understanding towards my students in order for them to succeed, whoever, and wherever they may be.


  1. Hi Gary, Ruth here,
    I agree with your idea of empathy and understanding, basically pastoral care, for students. When you have an articulate self-directed student such as yourself it is the only appropriate response from a lecturer. I have however sometimes found that younger, less focused students don't keep to the goals you set with them (and I do mean in discussion WITH them, sorry underlining not available). I found the idea of perhaps asking them to write down their reasons for continuing/studying in this course a good one, as per your comments above. Thanks.

  2. Hi Ruth

    Thanks for the feedback, I'm glad to see someone else is making successful use of this strategy.