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Flexible learning technologies and distance education: a teaching and learning perspective

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The number of distance education providers and learning options has increased rapidly in recent years with the emerging flexible learning technologies. The main challenge facing Australian and other universities aiming to deliver distance education programmes nationally or internationally is to find economical ways to encourage and enable effective learning at a distance and at the student's own pace. It will be discussed in this paper that this challenge cannot be met by computer technology alone, but rather by integrating this technology within flexible learning approaches based on the universality of learning processes and teaching and learning approaches that encourage deep learning. The article focuses on the question of quality in distance education and how quality relates to student learning and flexible learning technologies used for this purpose. A particular student-centred model for flexible learning that is based on this paradigm of quality is presented. The implementation of this model is discussed in greater detail using the experiences of the RMIT Mechanical Engineering distance education programme offered in Singapore and Hong Kong.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: RMIT University School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering P.O. Box 71 Bundoora Victoria 3083 Australia 2: University of Sunshine Coast Office of Learning, Teaching and Research Maroochydore DC Queensland 4558 Australia

Publication date: 2004-03-01

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