Theory, practice and reflection: The value of integrated learning systems from four different perspectives
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
School of Education
The dilemma addressed in this paper involves the selection of an appropriate course delivery system which best suits Indigenous adult pre-tertiary students. Course delivery systems are frequently evaluated from a single perspective where one system is judged to be more or less beneficial than another. For example, much literature is available on the benefits of the learning outcomes of online teaching or print-based distance education as compared to face-to-face classes. With the expansion of online and computer technologies in teaching and learning contexts, it is difficult to ignore the current debates surrounding the advantages and disadvantages of each delivery system. Instead of comparing one type of delivery system with another, this paper reports on the reflections of three academic staff from a number of perspectives about the value of integrated (or hybrid) delivery systems in the context of Indigenous adult pre-tertiary education. Questions about the advantages and disadvantages of single and integrated types of delivery systems are considered. Firstly, the administrative and management perspective is examined to ascertain the financial and organisational implications of delivering such learning systems. From a resource development viewpoint, the role of the instructional designer is explored to identify significant issues related to the design, content input and resource management of course development processes in integrated delivery systems. From a practical point of view, a university teacher’s experience of varied delivery systems (online, face-to-face and print-based distance education) is investigated. Responses from interviews with previous students were considered. Finally, as the three authors themselves are still studying, the student’s position from within each of these delivery systems is determined by a self-reflection process. This reflection-in-practice paper offers some suggested solutions to the dilemma of how to provide an appropriate integrated course delivery system and aims to inform the future courseware development at the School where the authors are employed. The paper provides some insight for course designers, administrators and university teachers, as well as students who are experiencing the integration of course delivery methods.