Wednesday, 27 February 2013

What is Flexible Learning?

What flexible learning is to me.

More often than I wish the phrase 'indecision is the key to flexibility' appears in my working life and once more sprung to the fore as I began to consider flexible learning. Was it any learning not delivered in a classroom setting? Did the flexibility refer to the educators or learners or both? How did it differ from blended learning, e-learning, distance learning?

emma can't decide...
I couldn't decide, further investigation was needed.

What flexible learning is to others.

Its name would suggest flexible learning is about learning in a variety of different ways in different places. But as Collis and Moonen (2002) point out, 'flexible learning is a complex phenomenon' and in their work they choose to further define it by breaking it down to four key components,' technology, pedagogy, implementation and institution.'

Thus the complexity begins. To navigate this complexity Casey and Wilson (2005) define five dimensions which can criticaly impact the appearance of flexible learning. Those being, 'time; content of the course; entry requirements; instructional approaches and resources; delivery and logistics.'

Flexible learning is:

  • Not new
  • Complex
  • Combines many learning approaches, such as blended and distance learning.
  • Equally important to the learner, educator and provider.
  • Limited by fixed resources, such as budgets or technology etc.
  • Challenging.
  • Potentially beneficial to both learners, educators and providers.




  1. Hi Emma
    Nice to meet you :-)
    Great reading your blog and yes - flexible learning seems to get more complex the more I read about it too. I like your summary and your photos.

  2. A great way to start. Your pictures really illustrate the dilemma for people when starting out, and thinking about what flexible loearnign actually means. I love this post!