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Introduction to Flexible Learning

By harnessing digital technologies, applying flexible learning and teaching techniques and a deeper understanding of students, the Flex Team can support you to design and deliver modules that meet students' needs and expectations.

The Flex Team leads online and flexible learning module development at NTU, which requires a re-thinking of the assumptions that underlie established models of delivery. Modules are designed to meet students' needs, wherever they are, increase the reach and impact of the University and support lifelong learning.

Student on laptop


The following definitions establish a common language to ensure a consistent understanding and application of learning design, delivery and management:

  • Digital broadly describes the use of computer technology, independent ly of, or integral to online environments.
  • Learning is the acquisition of knowledge or skills through study, experience, or being taught.
  • Face-to-face learning requires learners and teachers to be in the same physical environment.
  • Online learning uses the internet as the primary means of delivering learning and assessment.
  • Blended learning is a combination of any proportion of face-to-face and online learning activity, as part of a coherent course offer.
  • Flexible learning offers a diverse range of students' choices about when, where, and how they learn, and how they pay for their course.
  • Distance learning comprises online learning activities and content delivery, where the student does not have to attend the University campus.

Blended Learning

  • A course can be broken down into component parts, each delivered fully online, fully face-to-face, or a 'blend' of both.
  • Conceptual learning could traditionally be delivered face-to-face through lectures, presented online through multimedia in NOW, or a 'blend' of both. Active learning could be delivered face-to-face through seminars, via online activities using discussion forums and other NOW tools or a 'blend' of both. Even support can be delivered online.
  • A course's ‘blend’ is indicated by where it sits on the continuum for each of these elements. In modern face-to-face courses, many of these items are delivered online; usually, only the course’s blend of ‘contact’ hours is referenced.

Flexible Learning

Flexible learning is a student-centred approach to course design that builds a course around a set of ‘student personas ’. This approach allows course teams to adjust variables such as pace, place, price, and mode; when in the week the students study, to how quickly they complete a course; how they pay, including pay per module; studying online, on campus, or in the workplace; and the balance between asynchronous and synchronous learning.

Digital technologies enable course teams to create learning opportunities for students that offer a greater range of student experience choices and enable pedagogic approaches that are not restricted by traditional constraints, providing opportunities for increased personalisation and inclusive practice.


A chart

The Flex Team will collaborate with you, following principled steps, to design, build, and quality assure the online learning content for your module. The defined process, as shown above, will result in the creation of a well-presented learning room and content that's flexible, structured, coherent, engaging, and meets the international Quality Matters™ standards.

You'll be taken through a series of steps in partnership with an assigned Learning Designer. As well as consulting online guidance, your assigned Learning Designer will be available to advise you from initial conversations with us, up to the launch of your module.

Your Learning Designer will help you by

  • Supporting you to: 
    • Create a module map
    • Build your learning room in NOW
  • Advising on producing videos and other rich media
  • Providing support and guidance to help you develop online activities, conduct online seminars, tutorials, quizzes and assessment, set up online collaborative tasks, and track engagement,
  • Carrying out accessibility, technical and media checks (QA).

What we won't do:

  • Check the copyright of your materials – please read the Library’s copyright guide for adding materials to NOW;
  • Reformat PowerPoints or other documents; a template will be provided to help ensure accessibility and copyright compliance;
  • Write and/or produce content for you;
  • Author alternative text for your content, e.g. create alt text for diagrams;
  • Correct video captions.

What we need from you:

  • A complete and detailed module map (see guidance on Creating student personas and a module map);
  • Instructions for students to engage with your content and the actual content created in line with the module map;
  • Timing estimates for each activity, i.e. how long you expect a student to engage with an activity;
  • Content revisions to address any concerns your Learning Designer may have.


Help and Support

For general questions about this process contact the Flex Team at

For tech support queries (e.g. questions about software, installation and access issues), contact Digital Technologies at and for copyright/IP queries, contact the Library at

Still need help?

Flexible Learning