Universiteit Leiden

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Flexible learning pathways

The ambition to have flexible learning pathways is about creating possibilities to improve the content and form of students’ learning process, and to link learning to students’ needs. Students who have access to a flexible range of learning pathways can align their university career with their own personal learning objectives, always benefiting from their teachers’ guidance.

Mapping out a study path together

There is an increasing need in society for professionals with a distinct profile. Programmes that offer choices make education more flexible and are better positioned to capitalise on the needs of each unique student. However, this does not mean that individual students determine which mix of modules they want to take. Rather, students work with the programme staff to map out a path that best fits their ambitions, with the programme retaining responsibility for the quality of the learning pathways. This could relate to the choice between disciplinary and interdisciplinary pathways; choices about an external orientation, whether they focus on the labour market, a profession, society, technology or the world; or the option to complete a work placement, work on a community project, take an online course or go abroad for study or research.

Digitising education to find the best pace, time and place

At Leiden University, we aim to tailor the education we provide to students’ individual needs. Digitisation creates opportunities for greater flexibility and customisation, whilst also facilitating better feedback and personalised guidance. Thanks to digital tools, methods and learning materials, we have more opportunities to offer education that is not tied to a specific time or place. The switch to remote education has increased the range of digital resources teachers use and made our lecturers even more creative in how they apply those resources. Through blended learning (a mixture of in-person and online teaching methods), students can study at their own pace and in a location of their own choosing. For more information about digitisation in education and blended learning, visit the Technology in education page.

Promoting student mobility

Greater flexibility makes it easier for students to take the courses that interest them, both within their own study programme and educational institution and further afield. The university is keen to stimulate student mobility. As part of the Acceleration Plan for Educational Innovation with ICT, Leiden University is taking part in a student mobility pilot in collaboration with TU Delft and Erasmus University Rotterdam (known as the LDE alliance). The technical infrastructure for the project is being designed and developed by SURF. This pilot project aims to enable students to register with a single click for joint modules offered by the partner universities. Promoting student mobility is one of the objectives of the EUNiWell network within the themes of ‘well-being’ and ‘future skills and competences’. The partner universities will continue to develop this project in the coming years.

Lifelong development

Increasing flexibility is a key aspect of lifelong continued development. How well does our model of university education match labour market dynamics and the lives our graduates lead? How can the university meet the need of alumni and working professionals to continue learning? How, when and at what pace do they want

to learn? These groups are also looking for more flexibility and customisability in their education. The university’s range of education options for professionals continues to grow, with more courses, part-time study programmes and learning pathways being made available. Visit the website of the Centre for Professional Learningthe Juridisch PAO (Legal Post-Academic Education) LeidenLUMC Boerhaave Continuing Education and the Interfaculty Graduate School of Teaching (websites currently only available in Dutch) for more information. The university is planning to increase its focus on lifelong development in the coming years. 

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