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Drivers for change

Learn more about why The University of Manchester is moving to blended and flexible learning:

'Our Future' vision and strategic plan

The vision and strategic plan for The University of Manchester – ‘Our Future’ sets the direction for Flexible Learning.

Flexible Learning supports the strategic vision by

  • helping to meet the diverse future needs of society through flexible, personalised and interdisciplinary educational experiences that develop and apply new methods of teaching and learning, and promote lifelong learning;
  • creating a more personalised and inclusive approach to teaching and learning, giving students a greater voice through new digital platforms and ways of learning;
  • building on our record of inclusion by breaking down barriers to higher education and boundaries to learning;
  • increasing the geographic and socioeconomic diversity of our intake and enhancing our reputation as a member of the world's leading group of universities by communicating the distinctive benefits we bring to the world;
  • increasing the availability, responsiveness and personalisation of our services, the blend of our on- and off-campus provision, and the sustainability of our practices, while also building in the flexibility to adapt. 

Increased student choice

Growing student numbers and increasingly international cohorts mean that every learner arrives at our University with different skills, prior experience and motivations for study. Flexible Learning aims to create a framework that supports learners’ individual needs, by empowering them to choose the pace, place and mode of study to fit their individual circumstances and interests, balancing flexibility with tailored support.

Greater inclusivity and diversity

Widening participation is firmly embedded into how our University is run. Flexible Learning helps to remove barriers to higher education (HE), as traditional models of teaching provision can be difficult to access for many, including those from backgrounds currently under-represented in HE:

  • students from areas of lower higher education participation (LPN), lower household income and/or lower socio-economic status groups;
  • some Black, Asian and minority ethnic students;
  • mature students;
  • disabled students;
  • care leavers;
  • carers;
  • students estranged from their families;
  • people from Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities;
  • refugees;
  • children of military families;
  • commuter students.

Flexible Learning aims to give these students access to a world-class education through flexible, personalised and accessible learning, creating the right conditions so learners at our University reflect the diversity of our populations.


Life-long learning

Linear career models are becoming increasingly rare. Life-long learning allows learners of any age to gain new skills, improve job satisfaction and further their personal development.

Flexible Learning aims to remove barriers to higher education for mature students who have work or personal commitments by allowing them to personalise their studies to fit their schedules and existing professional experience and interests. 

Preparing our graduates for a digital world

To prepare our graduates for an increasingly digital world, flexible learning will make the best use of available technologies to reflect changing ways of working by equipping learners with the skills to respond and adapt to future technological changes.

Flexible Learning aims to build students’ digital skills through innovation-driven teaching, as well as enabling continuous professional development, making it easier for learners to access education and acquire new skills at any stage of their lives.

Increased flexibility for staff

Flexibility can make a difference in helping staff to balance the demands of their work and personal lives, whether this means a different work pattern or more days working from home. Making the best use of digital technologies and embedding agility into the ways we work means there will be fewer set times when staff will have to be on campus.

Effective use of estates and resources

Making best use of available formats will allow us to make better use of our estates and resources, creating more space for in-person active-learning sessions that add the most value to teaching.