Flexible learning

Flexible learning focuses on offering students choices about when, where and how they learn. It can give valuable advantages in an increasingly competitive HE environment as greater flexibility can help meet the needs of a diverse range of students.

The HEA publishes research and resources designed to inform and support organisations in the development and introduction of flexible learning practices.

Types of flexible learning

Flexible learning is accessing education in a way that is responsive in pace, place and/or mode of delivery. It is often supported by the use of credit accumulation and transfer.

Flexible learning can include:

  • using technology to provide remote or online study
  • work-based learning and employer engagement
  • part-time learning
  • accelerated or decelerated programmes
  • distance or blended learning

Flexible learning benefits

Flexible learning can:

  • help meet the needs of a diverse range of students
  • enable part-time study that could be attractive for sponsors
  • allow students to combine work, study and family
  • enable students to develop skills and attributes to successfully adapt to change

For more information about our work in this area, see Flexible learning projects.


Useful resources

- Conditions of flexibility: securing a more flexible higher education system

- Flexible pedagogies: technology-enhanced learning

- Flexible pedagogies: part-time learners and learning in higher education

- Flexible pedagogies: part-time learners and learning in higher education review tool

- Flexible pedagogies: new pedagogical ideas

- Flexible pedagogies: employer engagement and work-based learning