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The Journal of Adventist Education

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139999 Education not elsewhere classified| 229999 Philosophy and Religious Studies not elsewhere classified

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In the decade since Schrum and Hong’s comment that “online learning has rapidly become a popular method of edu - cation for traditional and non-traditional students,” this approach to tertiary learning has morphed through several generational forms and platforms to the point where it has become firmly entrenched in the Australian tertiary landscape. As a broad generalization, e-learning, online, or flexible learning in many universities represents a spectrum of “information communications technology” (hereafter referred to as ICT) usage that ranges from little or no actual real-time interaction or “face-to-face” contact with associated viewing linkages such as YouTube through to teaching attempts at fully interactive programs. However, despite the numerous studies purporting the benefits of this form of study, a few voices have argued that this rapid shift has been “accepted uncritically.” Of late, there has also been a gathering chorus of research which suggests that the research base has been skewed, as it has not fully taken into account the understandings of the front-line users: the students themselves. This leads to the rationale of this article that what actually constitutes authentic “flexible learning,” its actual efficacy, and effects remain unclear. Emerging out of the context of standard online delivery is the notion of “blended learning” or “mixed mode learning.” In this learning mode, the ideal is that students retain some of the benefits of constant face-to-face interaction with peers and tutors, as well as the flexibility and less-restrictive nature of learning through technological access. However, blended learning in the Australian context has itself become situated across an ICT spectrum that ranges from the “provision of twoway communication so that the student may benefit from or even initiate dialogue” to the attempt at quasi-virtual situations of the “ClassSim” project.

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Used by permission: The Journal of Adventist Education

This article was originally published in TEACH Journal of Christian Education and reprinted in The Journal of Adventist Education with permission of the authors.