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Part-time learners in open and distance learning: revisiting the critical importance of choice, flexibility and employability

Butcher, John and Rose-Adams, John (2015). Part-time learners in open and distance learning: revisiting the critical importance of choice, flexibility and employability. Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-Learning, 30(2) pp. 127–137.

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In this article, we argue that, if open learning seeks to (re)assert a social justice mission, issues of openness and flexibility are more critical than ever. Drawing on qualitative data from a National Union of Students Wales/Open University study, which explored, in the voices of Welsh students, the identity, motivation and barriers faced by part-time distance learners, three key findings emerged. First, the chimaera of ‘choice’ – for part-time distance learners whose personal circumstances prevent any other mode of study; second, the vacuity of policy assertions around ‘flexibility’ in HE – what personalised learning means for part-time distance learners should be contested and re-examined; third, the mantra of ‘employability’ – for part-time distance learners, employability is a conundrum which needs to be understood in a far more inclusively nuanced way. We conclude that the voices of part-time distance learners need to be heard by policy makers and should inform open universities’ continuing efforts to enable vulnerable and marginalised learners to access HE.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
ISSN: 1469-9958
Keywords: part-time learning; distance learners; social justice; rural students; barriers to HE
Academic Unit/School: Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI) > Institute of Educational Technology (IET)
Learning and Teaching Innovation (LTI)
Other Departments > Strategy Office
Other Departments
Item ID: 43317
Depositing User: John Butcher
Date Deposited: 10 Aug 2015 09:46
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 20:28
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