Is the flexible learning utopia within reach for work-based learning?

There are some wonderful resources that describe the benefits of different learning approaches such as flipped or blended learning.

Souto (2014) discusses how immersive and authentic learning environments, such as simulations, visualizations, and augmented reality can engage and motivate the students.

But you have to question if this is possible for large work organisations. I had a recent conversation where a group of people were really excited to move to online learning as it meant they didn’t need to find people to teach their course. They acknowledged that most online learning is just tick and flick and that they would need to invest to create interactive learning but they had no plan (or budget) to keep the resource up-to-date or follow up with students to find out how the learning could be improved.

In Todhunter’s (2013) article about the limitations of online learning, he suggests that the terms used for online learning meant that there was not enough uptake of it. Ironically, in my experience, the terms being used are causing too many people to turn towards online learning at the expense of student focused outcomes.

This observation is nothing new: pedagogy if misunderstood leads to fads in education. But the workplace is very different to schools and universities and the perverse outcomes of flexible learning so far appears to be that it allows workplaces the flexibility support quality teaching.


Souto, V. T. (2014). A Framework for Designing Interactive Digital Learning Environments for Young People. In K. Blashki, & P. Isaias (Eds.), Emerging Research and Trends in Interactivity and the Human-Computer Interface (pp. 429-447). Hershey, PA: IGI Global. doi:10.4018/978-1-4666-4623-0.ch022

Todhunter, B (2013) LOL — limitations of online learning — are we selling the open and distance education message short? Distance Education34(2), pp. 232-252.


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