What Is Online Flexible Learning

Going to high school in the 21st century is much more different than it was in the 80s and 90s. Many more options exist for not only the students, but the families as well.

Today, information is readily available—to create a new or exciting work or personal project—and the speed of information delivery and network connections are improving. The flexibility of the internet, coupled with millennials’ preference for new technologies, has ushered in an era of information abundance. Information, a commodity, is no longer exclusive to the elites. A culture of “frictionless consumption” has created a widespread expectation for online access for everything from learning to entertainment, and traditional environments like academic textbooks have been left behind.

The advent of the “university experience” is undermined, and students are shunning old thinking about how we teach and learn. This is a great opportunity to rethink how we’ve learned for thousands of years and to re-evaluate the value of traditional education. Since digital learning is an essential part of the digital education ecosystem, deciding how and when you might teach requires understanding all of the variables, and the barriers that might arise.

Most people continue to choose standardized textbooks as a formal method of learning by doing or a tangible collection of information, and believe it is the same way that humans have learned over the ages. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. A proper learning experience is based on many factors.

Baked into traditional textbooks are ways to organize their contents—lists of topics or sections of text to build understanding. These organizational concepts create more “constant engagement” among students, but tend to fall by the wayside in online learning.

Connecting content

When you first start a product design project, you need to have content to find inspiration, push for design progress, and get all of your input on an ongoing basis. A good tool for this is the Programmatic Constructor, a digital curation tool that makes it easy to find content on your project. If you would rather explore content offline or on your own schedule, this becomes especially important.

Easy-to-reach content

Typical textbooks are traditionally designed to be read at a desk. If you’re not comfortable with sitting and reading from a book at work, you can access a print version of the book by clicking a link on your site. That way, you don’t spend too much time sitting at your desk. However, when you’re online, you don’t have the right kind of content at your fingertips and it’s more likely you won’t turn to your employer’s site if you’re not comfortable with using the corporate download link (hey, if you’re doing a presentation at your boss’s place on a different medium—beyond conference call or presentation software—perhaps you can find a way to drop a link on a document and save it).

DIY

Making your own textbooks helps you customizing an experience that you feel is best for you. Learning about content—from a diverse, specialist publisher, through creativity and design—can be challenging, especially if you don’t feel you have the means to actually create the content on your own.

Targeted ads

By the time you’ve finished the books you want to read, they’ve already been put on a global network by a publisher, so those interested can access them. You can buy these materials through a few different channels, including Amazon, which has a Kindle e-book selection and Audible, a company that offers audio books and podcasts. Amazon has also integrated Audible into its music offering, making it easy to read your e-books without ever going on Amazon.com. But if your use case is content education through video streaming, there’s a chance that your ability to access content elsewhere has been stymied by your inability to access it on your own device. Access to streaming services can go as high as $75 per month. That’s a lot of money for just a few subscriptions.

Besides how a user chooses to access content, there are also other factors to consider. You’ll want to see if you can access any reference materials outside of the classroom or if you can do this in any course on a major site. Free sites like City Pages and Lifehacker are excellent starting points in identifying resources that relate to your course or the course you’re studying.

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