Studies in Learning, Evaluation, Innovation and Development > Vol. 1, No. 1 (2004)

The challenge of flexible and non-traditional learning and teaching methods: Best practice in every situation?

Jo Kehoe, Central Queensland University, Australia
Beth Tennent, Central Queensland University
Karen Windeknecht, Central Queensland University

Abstract

The development, delivery and assessment of large, introductory, undergraduate courses that include a mixed cohort of internal and distance, and domestic and international, students is challenging at any time. However, alternative and flexible delivery approaches have been heralded by many as the solutions to the issues that this complexity produces. This paper examines this claim by analysing the experiences of students involved in three large, introductory courses, each utilising a different form of non-traditional methods of teaching and learning, to analyse whether it is beneficial in all cases. The analysed courses covered the three different disciplines of accounting, law and management. This research offers lessons for course facilitators and course developers alike, and demonstrates that accepting the challenge and embracing these forms of delivery and assessment as a replacement of traditional methods is not always appropriate. Instead, the findings suggest that these approaches offer real benefits to some students in particular situations and therefore should be viewed as worthwhile supplements to offer all students more flexibility and the opportunity to enhance their tertiary education experience by encouraging and supporting self-directed and independent learning skills.

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