Flexible learning (FL) is re-emerging as an important way in which higher education might respond to many of the challenges students face, especially, but not exclusively, at undergraduate level. Yet there is little common agreement about what FL is, how it can be developed, who the likely beneficiaries are, and whether there are any common principles and good practices that need to be established. The FL agenda is not simply of relevance to HE: employers are considering ways in which they too can incorporate greater flexibility, and both sectors are wanting to explore how their respective interests can be mutually addressed. As we move further into the 21st century, greater flexibility is envisaged through an increase in work-based learning, part-time study, adult and mature learners, and the use of technology.
This conference aims both to inform and inspire delegates about FL on a number of levels: global, national, institutional and programme. Key strands within the flexible learning theme include part-time learners, work-based learning, technology-enhanced learning, credit accumulation and transfer, and new pedagogical ideas. Many of these will be explored both by keynote speakers and participants offering workshops.