The focus of the flexible learning framework developed by the Higher Education Academy in 2016 was on empowering students by providing choice in terms of how what when and where they learned. The framework also recognised the need for pragmatic flexibility- the extent to which we can provide choice in the pace, place and mode of learning whilst sustaining a learning community.
The four dimensions underpinning the framework: technology-enhanced learning, pedagogic approaches, institutional systems and structures and employability are still valid although the context and application has shifted as illustrated in this quote from Jones –Devitt et al. which emphasises the need to ensure that the infrastructure, policies and practices focus on widening access and driving engagement.
Flexible learning concerns institutions constructing and continually evaluating infrastructure, policies and practices that offer the widest possible opportunity for successful student engagement and belonging of all stakeholders in higher education
The Beyond Flexible Learning project will provide a range of resources to help our members develop institutional and personal responses as they develop and communicate their flexible learning offer.
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The aim of this project is to explore topics that institutions, academics, students and governments are grappling with. The project addresses how we can provide high quality, accessible and engaging learning experiences whilst leveraging the benefits of online learning.
- Stimulate thinking about the need to align flexible learning and teaching offer with institutional mission, vision and values.
- Support programme teams as they design programmes that combine in-person and online teaching
- Making sure current quality assurance processes are still fit for purpose as opportunities to gain a higher education becomes more diverse.
Introductory Blog - Flexible and sustainable quality higher education: can we provide it all?
Written by Catherine Hack and due to be published by the end of September, this introductory blog will link the overall sustainability theme with this project's aims.
Podcast: Can Quality Assurance help us map the flexible learning landscape
As opportunities to gain a higher education becomes more diverse, providing genuine learner choice in pace, place, mode and provider, what is the role of quality assurance and are our current QA process still fit for purpose? Our podcast, invites Dr Nick mount Academic Director, University of Nottingham Online and Professor David Webster, Director of SOAS Foundation College to explore whether Quality Assurance can help us map the flexible learning landscape.
Video lecture - What is your vision for flexible learning?
Due to be published in October this short recorded lecture is designed to stimulate thinking about the need to align the learning and teaching offer with institutional mission, vision and values and wider strategic initiatives.
The rapid changes in online practices over the last decade, accelerated over the last two years, means the language has also evolved very quickly, Lots of different terminology is being used to describe the different ways students interact with their lecturers, their subject and each other. It is critical that we are using the same terms to describe the same learning modes, to communicate expectations for staff and students. Advance HE will publish a series of six practice guides covering in-person, hybrid, hyflex, multi-modal, online asynchronous and online synchronous teaching and learning, that support teams design programmes that provide an intentional blend of in-person and remote teaching to develop engaged and effective student learning.
The future student experience – Sandpit event
This sandpit event to be held later this year will be about future student experience infographics and how they are designed to stimulate thinking about the desired student future as well as exploring environmental, economic, social and technological drivers.
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