Strategies for accommodating individuals’ styles and preferences in flexible learning programmes
There has been a considerable growth in the use of flexible methods of delivery for workplace learning and development. However, in designing programmes of flexible learning there is often the assumption that learners will exhibit uniformity in the ways in which they process and organise information (cognitive style), in their predispositions towards particular learning formats and media (instructional preferences) and the conscious actions they employ to deal with the demands of specific learning situations (learning strategies). In adopting such a stance one runs the risk of ignoring important aspects of individual differences in styles, preferences and strategies. Our purpose in this paper will be to: (i) consider some aspects of individual difference that are pertinent to the delivery of flexible learning in the workplace; (ii) identify some of the challenges that extant differences in styles and preferences between individuals may raise for instructional designers and learning facilitators; (iii) suggest ways in which models of flexible learning design and delivery may acknowledge and accommodate individual differences in styles and preferences through the use of an appropriate range of instructional design, learning and support strategies.