Folley, Susan and Ellis, Cath (2008) Harnessing the Power of Distributed Learning: the potential benefits for Higher Education in the United Kingdom. In: Solstice Conference 2008: elearning and learning environments for the future, 5th June 2008, Edge Hill University, Ormskirk, UK. (Unpublished)

Student learning isn't ever limited to just what happens in the classroom. Indeed, it takes place across a wide range of environments (at home, in the library, on the bus, in the pub) and it happens at all times of the day and night. Distributed Learning is a pedagogical strategy that aims to support student learning in as many of these places and times as possible. It connects face-to-face classes with other types of learning environments, through a range of communication and information technologies. Distributed Learning strategies have tended to be most widely used in geographically large countries, like Australia, the USA and Canada, as an alternative to distance learning. In this presentation, we will argue that Distributed Learning strategies can also bring significant benefits to HE institutions in geographically smaller nations like the UK.

Our presentation will explore the key benefits that Distributed Learning strategies can bring to these institutions now and in the future. In the short term it is particularly useful to those delivering courses and modules across multiple campuses, in collaborative provision partnerships, and to mixed cohorts of part-time and full-time students. In the future it will become increasingly important as institutions strive to meet the demands of technically-savvy students who have grown up in an e-world and expect 'always on' learning environments. We will illustrate our presentation with examples from our own use of Distributed Learning strategies in the delivery of an interdisciplinary Humanities degree programme across the three campuses of the University of Huddersfield. Our paper will outline what has been achieved, in both quality and efficiency, through the application of Distributed Learning strategies. It will also outline what development support is required, in order to achieve successful outcomes.

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