Saturday, September 21, 2013

Multi Access Learning Framework

I was really excited to see this article from Irvine et al. (2013) as it addresses some of the very thoughts that I've been having around how to pull together the best elements from learning theory - can't forget our foundations :0) -  along with what we have been learning about MOOCs and Online Learning into a model that makes sense for those of us in Higher Education. The article references the works of:
  • Brown & Campione's Fostering a Community of Learning [FCL] - research-share-perform; 
  • Bruner's 4 Aspects of FCL - agency, reflection, collaboration & culture; and 
  • Code's Agency Model - personal, proxy, and collective 
to establish a theoretical foundation for their Multi-Access Framework. They define Multi-Access Learning as a means of enabling students, in F2F and/or OL contexts, to personalize their learning experience while participating in a course.  The framework consists of 4 Tiers:

Tier 1 - F2F: traditional classroom teaching & learning
Tier 2 - Synchronous: both F2F & OL through web conferencing.
Tier 3 - Asynchronous: OL access to archives of F2F classes + collaborative activities that support co-construction of meaning
Tier 4 - Open Learning: following the xMOOc & cMOOC approach, non-credit students are able to access the course at no cost & the learning community has potential for global reach.

As I see it Tiers 1-3 describe Blended Learning. But the authors claim that this model is different
from BL as it places the student at the centre. Though this doesn't fit with a lot of the materials I have been reading, which advocate BL as an opportunity for focusing on the students through engaging them in active learning, I did see the authors' point that it is ultimately the instructor who controls what the blend looks like. Apparently, in this model, the student has full choice.

Aside from the theoretical underpinnings [which satisfy the academic world that I live in] what I like about the framework is that it attempts to find a cohesive model for bringing together the best of F2F & OL - including what xMOOCs [mastery learning] and cMOOCs [connectivist/constructivist] can bring to the learning experience when opened up beyond the university. As someone who loves visuals and frameworks to help organize my thinking and connect different concepts, this is the best representation I have found to date that encapsulates my current thinking on the future possibilities for online teaching and learning.

Reference: Irvine, V., Codes, J., & Richards, L. (2013). Realigning HIgher Education for the 21st Century Learner through Multi-Access Learning. JOLT Vol. 9 No. 2 June 2013


  1. Really like the way you have both conveyed your understanding of the model and demonstrated how it works to support what you do and stimulate your work.

    1. Thanks Ed. I'm looking forward to thinking about it more as I design my own online courses.