Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Activity Four –Define and describe the concepts of Access & Equity, Diversity & Inclusivity in your professional context.

Explore the meaning of Universal Design and inclusiveness in learning.

Here is some interesting reading around this topic-
“Not all students want to make their own choices or be responsible for the quality of their choices. More flexibility brings with it more independence but also the need for more self-direction and more self-motivation. These traits are not automatic in many learners. Flexible study locations and time can mean solitary study, not comfortable for some, Giving learners their own choice of time, content, method, media, route and place will mean less change of group interaction and peer – to peer communication. These are intrinsic problems in offering more learner centred learning. Many learners will need or appreciate an expert making many of the choices for them. Thus, in flexible learning there still should be the option of selection predetermined choices, as well as making one’s own decisions. But again, this requires multiple versions of the same course or course components (Collis &Mooen p.15, 2002).”
There is an increasing need for education to be tailored to the student situation. Some students may only need to engage in a module to address their deficit which is may be cheaper than an entire course especially if the time and location is determined by them. Working people need content that is relevant and up-to-date.   Effective adult education occurs when it is relevant, has transfer value to work and is efficient in time and energy demands (Collis &Mooen, 2002).
“Intereactivity in general and interactivity for learning in particular must be contextualized in relation to learners’ resources for interpreting, decoding and thinking through different formats of information presentation (Lookwood&Gooley, p.198, 2001).”
“This study demonstrated that depending on the specific circumstance, not all forms of interaction may be either equally valued by learners or effective. Participants reported that informal interactions were as important as formal interactions in determining the quality of the online learning experience. Participants also maintained that the flexibility and independence characteristics of self-paced learning opportunities supplanted the need for certain types of interaction. They were willing to forgo interaction with one another to preserve the flexibility of their self-paced studies. In addition, the activity of blogging was shown to be equivalent to or even superior to instructor-directed asynchronous discussion via the discussion board in a LMS (Rhode, 2009, p.16).”
Collis, B., &Moonen, J. (2002).Flexible learning in a digital world, experiences and expectations.  London: Kogan Page.
Lockwood, F., &Gooley, A.(Eds.). (2001). Innovation in open & distance learning. London: Kogan Page
Rhode, J. (2009). Interaction Equivalency in Self-Paced Online Learning Environments: An Exploration of Learner Preferences. The International Review Of Research In Open And Distance Learning, 10(1), Article 10.1.6. Retrieved from

Universal Design for Learning: A framework for access and equity. This includes a range of learning environments.

Describe an example of inclusive teaching.Students have the opportunity and are encouraged to in their first year practice skills paper to keep a reflective journal this is private and in the style of their choosing. Examples at their discretion can be used to illustrate integration of theory with practice. Learning contracts for practice skills also give students the opportunity to demonstrate competency in a way that suits their learner style this can for example mean reading literature, viewing film clips, discussing and practicing with a midwife etc.
At our weekly student practice facilitation sessions and debriefings ground rules are established by the group around engagement and conduct. This revisited regularly.  Sometimes student’s red flag things privately and via email to ensure as a moderator I am on my toes.
We offer an introduction to midwifery course and encourage foundation skills study for those needing to gain entry requirements.

What are some issues for access and equity in your classes?Our participants in the undergraduate setting are not easily able to engage with employment while studying.  In order to deliver the equivalent of 4 years content (university academic year) in 3 years our students have a very long academic year i.e. February to December. Students are also expected to be on call babies come at unpredictable time’s employers at not always sensitive to this.  Fee’s and living expenses over three years is a significant financial commitment. Driving to women’s appointments and following midwives around can cost a lot in petrol especially if midwives cover rural settings.
We offer satellite groups for students to try and keep them as future midwives embedded in their communities. This gives students the choice of geographical setting to study in.

Return to practice midwives may not have the economic resources to engage in fee paying courses especially if their reasons for being out of the workforce are for such as caring for dependants. Older women in this group may not have previously engaged much with the technology required and be daunted by the online medium of study and general academic expectations of midwives in practice now.

Explain what your learners will need to access the learning environment you plan to create.
Students will need a computer with preferably internet broadband speed that has the ability to access moodle and elluminate/adobe connect. Students will also need to download applications if they do not have the relevant ones installed to access material or be willing to contact the polytechnic I.T staff to enable them to remotely access their computer to download same (e.g. windows media player and Adobe Reader etc).
Importantly students need to be able to have quiet dedicated time to engage with the content and activities of the course.
My readings encourage me to be mindful of the following-
“Social discontinuities can occur in online setting. These include world view, culturally specific vocabulary, and concepts, linguistic characteristics of the learner, learner motivation, and cognition patterns, including reading behaviour” (Wilson, 2001, p.61).
Wilson, M. S. (2001). Cultural considerations in online instruction and learning. Distance Education, 22(1), 52-64. Retrieved from

Phew sorry haven't quite got the hang of how to answer questions for the activities in short blogger posts!


  1. Fifi don't worry about the length of your posts. They are always interesting. You mention something quite close to my heart:" More flexibility brings with it more independence but also the need for more self-direction and more self-motivation. These traits are not automatic in many learners."

    With this in mind, the occupational therapy school introduced workshops into orientation week to inform students how to be a self-directed learner. I was involved in this venture, and overall most students did not really understand what being self-directed actually meant. It does not mean you have to work alone nor does it exclude peer interaction as social learning contributes greatly to effective learning experiences. Also, self-directed students need to have particular characteristics. For example, motivation, time management, curiosity, determination and perseverance. They also need to have confidence in their ability to learn, and be able to reflect on, evaluate and monitor their learning, as well as set goals (all aspects of metacognition) and learning at this level is not intuitive and can be challenging.

    Some researchers believe that to be a successful online learner you must be able to be self-directed - do you agree with this?

  2. Hi I have recently talked to clinical educator at a DHB and asked her what degree of flexibility she has in her clinical teaching for hospital orientation and compulsory education requirements. This educator laments that there is virtually no flexibility participants are booked on the study day by their managers and there is a tight timetable of lectures such as health and safety, civil defense etc. If participants miss the day it has a flow on effects around safety in the work place and legislative compliance.
    This got me thinking how could this be improved?
    What about having video clips for some of the guest speakers to view at leisure (e.g. quiet night shift) with quizzes for comprehension.
    Online readings/teaching packages via the hospital intranet with tracked system of completion.
    Evening seminars once in a while? Perhaps some of the shift workers don't turn up because they do not have childcare?
    Once you mull it is interesting to reflect on how creative you can be delivering compulsory content :-)
    Even a survey on what ideas participants have for how the content can be delivered in a more user friendly way.
    Cheers FiFi

  3. Great ideas FiFi. It would be a good idea to ask participants what would suit them as you say. When it comes to creative ways to offer training, showing people some options is always a good idea because unless they are in the know they might not understand. However, finding out information about the ways they might like to undergo a blended model of training, and also asking about some of the barriers to their attendance would be an excellent start.