We are so fortunate to be living in the Internet Era. As a lifelong learner, I really appreciate the ability to wander at will and stumble upon world class learning objects - everything from scholarly works, historically significant documents, breath-taking recorded performances, amazing feats of courage, determination and stupidity. That's life and it is all there!
As a college educator, community volunteer and parent, I want to participate in the development and acceptance of flexible learning. Too often, the academic requirements for "credit" and accountability get in the way of many learners reaching their fullest potential. So we in Flexible Learning have some work to do.
Some of the issues that need to be addressed include but are not limited to structuring flexible learning so that academic rigor is incorporated and "credit" recognition can be granted. Today, we are so hung up with college degrees, school funding, standardized testing, that students are very good at these things, but have no education in the broader, classical sense of scholarship or apprenticeship.
For Flexible Learning to be accepted in "main stream" education, developing appropriate measurements and authorities who will vouch for flexible learning are important next steps.
I am particularly concerned about Science and Engineering education and learning. "Everyone" knows we don't have enough students studying in these disciplines. This is a Catch-22 - the current teaching and learning methods don't encourage or build the skills and talents in these areas, so there aren't any role models or teachers to attract students. The jobs are there and the need for these skills and knowledge are increasing without sufficient numbers of incoming educated practitioners to fill them.
Flexible learning can contribute to resolving the situation. Just getting everyone else to recognize and accept that will take some doing...