Learner motivation is a widely studied topic area within educational psychology. It is well known that to facilitate learner motivation, one must allow for student choice. A multi-access learning framework is thought to be an excellent educational framework for returning power over learning to the student, giving them the freedom of choice and therefore contributing to learner agency.
The multi-access learning framework can be expressed using a four tiered framework as outlined by Irvine, Code and Richards (2013). Tier one access refers to the more traditional classroom model of face to face instruction and learning. The traditional classroom reaches a core group of students who are physically present in the classroom. If a student is absent they will have to access the learning resources from their teacher in advance of their absence or after the absence. However, even if students can access the content they have missed they will not be able to be apart of the experiences the class had during their absence and so this portion of learning is only accessible in the physical classroom under this model. The control within this model is largely in the hands of the teacher or professor.
The second tier within this multi-access learning framework is synchronous learning. This tier extends the traditional classroom to reach a broader range of students. Within this tier students have the option of participating in the traditional face to face classroom or streaming in online in real time. This opportunity for student choice gives students greater control and allows the learning to not be defined within a single physical space.
Tier three moves out from the first two tiers to encompass an even wider student group. This tier is referred to as asynchronous online. This tier allows for a larger student population as it is not only undefined by physical space (as is tier two) but it is also not limited to one time. Asynchronous online learning allows for archived classroom content and interaction. This allows for greater flexibility and agency as students can choose not only where their learning will take place but also when.
The fourth and final tier of the multi-access learning framework is open learning and massive open online courses (MOOCs). As with tier three (asynchronous online) students have the ability to choose where and when they learn but they are not limited to the courses or classes they can take. Within open learning and MOOCs there is no participant limit so they allow for global participation, making learning public and removing any access barriers. In tier four, the student is given the greatest amount of agency and ownership of any of the four tiers.
Irvine, V., Code, J., & Richards, L. (2013). Aligning higher education for the 21st-century learner through multi-access learning. Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 9. Retrieved from jolt.merlot.org/vol9no2/irvine_0613.htm