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Bedfordshire academic working to prevent learner 'fragility'

Educators must prepare for the shift into the technological age to counteract learner 'fragility'

Posted by Hannah Oakman | July 01, 2015 | Higher education

This is according to a new book by a University of Bedfordshire academic.

David Mathew, Educational Developer at the University, says in Fragile Learning: The Influence of Anxiety that adult learners (18+) face ‘burnout’ in their education unless courses are modernised.

“Fragile Learning is a way of looking at the barriers and boundaries that adult learners have in front of them and what causes them to stop learning,” explains David.

“The book is about what breaks their learning. Some adult learners will use any excuse to stop learning so what I do in the book is look at a variety of ways that adults can maintain their learning path.”

The key premise of the book considers educational anxiety amongst learners, as well as educators, especially in the face of the increasing prevalence of online learning.

Courses must adapt to this growing medium, says David.

“Each one of the chapters has anxiety at its core.

“Not only do I talk about fragile learning for students but also ones that are doing the teaching because they also become learners in this new environment [online].”

David’s book also takes into account the geographical, societal and psychological barriers to learning, and he emphasises the importance of supporting learners and providing an environment that allows them to flourish, two key elements of the student experience.

David has already set to work implementing his ideas into study and support services at the University, with, for example, the Return to Professional Practice course – nominated for the Student Nursing Times Awards – taking on a more multi-media focus.

“A lot of what I talk about in the book could be avoided if academics and educators were prepared fully to deliver their courses in an online environment. It’s not just a case of sticking up a few PowerPoints; it’s a rethinking of how students learn. We have the tools, now it is a matter of sharpening them.”

Fragile Learning: The Influence of Anxiety is available to pre-order now on Amazon and Karnac Books.



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