Flexible and Distributed Learning

Flexible learning is about providing learners with choices regarding when, where and how learning occurs (the pace, place and mode of delivery). It helps to attract and meet the needs of an increasingly diverse range of students and includes making appropriate use of technology to support the learning process.

Flexible learning can include:

  • using technology to provide online study;
  • work-based learning;
  • part-time learning;
  • distance or blended learning.

Just because it’s online…doesn’t make it good! (click the image below to open the video in a new tab)







Video_icon How distance learning really works

Julian Parker-McLeod and Iain Stainton, Policing

– LTA Matters – using audio and video in L&T

External resources

Flexible Learning toolkit, HEA

Collection of resources including pedagogic research, teaching resources and case studies to inform practice embedding flexible learning.

Conditions of flexibility: securing a more responsive higher education system, R. Barnett, 2014, HEA

The report proposes fifteen conditions of flexibility to inject new thinking and new practices into an emerging new age. Flexible provision has the potential to enhance student learning, widen opportunities for participation in higher education, and develop graduates who are well-equipped to contribute to a fast-changing world. This report shows how these conditions of flexibility provide the foundations for the implementation of robust, well-informed and well-considered structures and strategies that will lead the HE sector into the future.

Flexible Pedagogies: new pedagogical ideas, A. Ryan and D. Tilbury, 2013, HEA

This study forms part of a multi-strand project on flexible pedagogies funded by the Higher Education Academy (HEA). This strand on ‘new pedagogical ideas’ positions the relationship between flexibility and pedagogy as an important arena for critical questions about core purposes and modes of participation for teaching and learning in higher education (HE). Within this context, ‘new pedagogical ideas’ are explored with a focus on building the capability of learners to anticipate and engage with the future and to navigate through complexity, uncertainty and change. It considers the pedagogical questions that arise about the purposes and outcomes of HE in an era of increasing ‘flexibility’ informed and facilitated by technological changes, globalisation of the sector, rising participation and changing employer expectations.