Short course

Online course details



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5 units, 5 hours of study to complete all units

CPD hours

5 CPD hours


Self-guided online learning



Online course description

The Flexible Learning Toolkit course provides a solution to programme / module design issues that were observed during the global Covid 19 pandemic, such as:

Drawing on good practice from the different modes of learning, this course will provide you with:

In this course, we explore these problems by answering questions posed by the QAA guide ‘Questions to Inform a Toolkit for Enhancing Quality in a Digital Environment’ (2021).

The course draws upon the experiences of students and module leaders across three modes of study; online learning, work-based learning and campus-based learning that transitioned to digital study due to enforced restrictions resulting from the pandemic.

Between February and April 2021, the volunteers recorded a weekly video log (vlog) style reflection. Their insights are woven into the course units to emphasise key points of interest.

This course has 5 units, each with a ‘read’, ‘watch’ and ‘do’ section. The course is self-paced, without peer or tutor interaction, therefore you are encouraged to take the learning back to your institution to discuss in your programme teams. Each unit concludes with a summary section, which contains our recommendations for enhancing flexible module and programme design.

There is no intention for you to undertake additional reading as part of this course. The evidence-based guide, is built into the activity time. Finally, you will have the results of three activities that may be applied in any mode of learning to directly enhance the student experience.

Collaborative Enhancement Partnership Project

This course is the result of a collaborative enhancement partnership project supported by the QAA. The project is led by the University of Derby in partnership with Derby College, The London College, and Pearson.

Who is this course for?

The course is for higher education practitioners, such as Programme Leaders or Modules Leaders, working in any of the 279 QAA member institutions. Strategic Managers within Higher Education will also benefit from this exploration of digital learning.

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2 females smiling looking at laptop
Male engaging with PC meeting

Structure, certificates and assessment

An accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office

We are proud to be an accredited provider of the CPD Standards Office for our online short courses and free courses, demonstrating that they conform to CPD best practice and are appropriate for inclusion in a formal CPD record.

Accredited CPD Centre Logo - The CPD Standards Office, CPD Provider 60069, 2024-2025

Course units

The course is made up of 5 units and this online course will require approximately 5 hours of study.

The first unit explores the relationship between pedagogies and digital tools and technologies. To begin with, it looks at the use of learning technologies, then how technologies have changed the way we work with no assumption that learning will take place in a physical space. It then explores blends of physical and digital learning to create a holistic learning experience. Finally it looks at how learning analytical data can be used to enhance the learning experience.

The second unit focuses on learning communities. It explores staff and student experiences of scheduled synchronous and flexible asynchronous interactions in the three modes of study; online, blended campus-based and work-based learning. It then looks at how work-based and online students apply their learning in the workplace.

The research suggests that flexible modules should provide choice and visibility of effective ways to meet the total credit hours, a key ingredient of this is guided independent learning such as reading and assignment preparation.

This unit will focus on independent learning, and consider the blend of media and time, to address the following issues:

  • Media overload
  • Adjusting the pace of independent learning
  • Self-assessment and guided assessment preparation.

This unit focuses on how the communication and presentation of information across all levels of the course delivery and student journey can help to create a sense of belonging. It will look at how to ensure students are informed and have digital access to the wider institutional offer, through effective communications.

The final unit draws the themes covered in the previous units together and looks at how to introduce them to students at the start of their modules. It will cover student orientation in digital spaces.

Learning outcomes

Upon completing the course, you will be able to:

Course requirements

How to enrol

All of our free courses are delivered through an easy-to-use online learning platform, which you can enrol from directly.

What you will need

The course is free and widely available for anyone to take part in regardless of age, location or education status. You will need to agree to the terms and conditions before you start the course which will be available when you enrol.

However, there are some basic requirements. You will need access to the internet whether it is on your PC, tablet, mobile or other electronic devices, as well as a valid email address to register with our online learning environment in order to take part in the course.

Once registered, please be aware that all study for this course is online and so you will need to be able to engage with this via a personal device, preferably a computer or laptop, for the stated duration of the course.

The learning platform is compatible with screen reader technology to assist those with visual impairments.

Who will teach you

Gary Fisher stood in a snow.

Dr Gary Frazer Fisher
Programme leader

Gary Fisher is Senior Learning Designer. In his current role as Senior Learning Designer, he uses his varied experiences and specialisms to ensure that University of Derby students have the best possible outcomes and enjoy a positive student experience.

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If you want to find out more about studying a short course, please contact us and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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