What is the difference between Blended Learning and Flexible Learning? Blended learning is defined as combining different learning environments while flexible learning is essentially about providing learners in regards to when, where and how learning occurs. I.e. pace, place and delivery mode.
It gives learners and instructors an environment to learn and teach more effectively. It can combine face-to-face instruction with technology-mediated instruction, and combines various methods, techniques and resources to an interactive learning environment. The purpose of flexible learning is to expand choices on what, when, where and how we learn.
Flexible learning supports different styles of learning. Flexible learning includes e-learning. It focuses on the learner deciding what, where, when and how they learn. It is a set of educational philosophies and systems that are concerned with providing learners with more choices, convenience, and personalization of instructional content and media.
Flexibility in completing degree requirements is important to students who work or live away from a campus or in an area that does not have accredited degree programs. Some programs allow students to take a few independent studies, courses in other schools, graduate departments, or universities and apply the credits towards program. This however, is more likely to happen at the masters, not doctorate degree level.
In response to this concern, many accredited schools now offer online distance degree programs using a variety of delivery modalities. Some offer entire degrees at a distance, while others offer a certain number of classes online and students need to complete additional residency requirements. Coursework augmented with online and face-to-face instruction prepares learners for classroom and virtual instruction by helping you understand how to select, integrate and execute the most effective curriculum for all levels of students.
Some online degree programs offer various options that combine online learning and face-to-face instruction. The percentage of time on-line vs face-to-face varies from program to program. On-line learning brings flexibility to blend learning. Some of the coursework is asynchronous meaning that learning occurs when participants are not all online at the same time, for example streamed audio/video, threaded discussions, and e-mail. Other work is synchronous, which refers to real-time learning where participants are logged on at the same time and communicate directly with each other for example chats and Internet conferencing.
Many online degree programs offer a combination of blended learning and flexible learning options to enhance learning processes and learning outcomes. Each one may use different approaches to meet the learning goals and objectives.