Document Type

Conference publication

Publication details

Newton, D, Ashman, P & Ellis, A 2005, 'The Australian Army soldier's perspective of flexible leaning: reserve distance learning pilot', AVETRA 2005 Annual Conference Proceedings, Brisbane, 13-15 April, Australian Vocational Education and Training Research Association, Crows Nest, NSW.


This study aims to understand the perceptions of soldiers involved in the shift to flexible learning (computer based learning and distance learning) in the Australian Army. This move represents a major shift for an organisation that has a hierarchical and authoritarian decision-making and training structures.

Interviews and questionnaires with managers, instructors and soldiers involved in flexible learning in an Army Reserve Corporal distance learning pilot course indicated the importance of understanding the organisational context and culture. Students provided reflective insights into their learning experiences that complemented Army’s more outcomes based evaluation approach. This case study indicates that flexible learning development is not a simple process of introducing a computer based learning package into the organisation. It highlighted the importance of mutual adaptation of flexible learning and the organisation that reflects the learning culture, learners’ needs and a constantly changing environment.