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Putting the Jigsaw Together: Flexible Learning in Australia

Research for Putting the Jigsaw Together: Flexible Learning in Australia (1.7 MB) focused on the provision of education for disadvantaged young people through flexible learning programs in Australia.


The research findings include:

  • jigsawkitty1There are more than 900 flexible learning programs around Australia, educating more than 70,000 students each
  • Evidence for very significant social and economic benefits for both young people and the wider community as a result of the work of flexible learning programs. It is unlikely these benefits would accrue without these programs. Investment into flexible learning programs is worthwhile as this brings substantial financial and social returns.
  • A proposed Framework of Quality Flexible Learning Programs [FQFLP]. The model has four key dimensions representing the work of flexible learning programs: Valued Outcomes, Actions, Principles and Conditions.
  • Staff are the greatest asset for these programs. They build the strong relationships that are the foundation of young people’s engagement with learning in flexible learning programs.
  • Young people in flexible learning programs want to learn, and want access to the improved life opportunities that such learning enables. They demonstrate great insight in what they want and need to learn as well as how this is best accomplished.
  • Flexible learning programs can serve as showcases of educational innovation. Recognition of the success and innovation of FLPs can facilitate system-wide improvements to enhance the educational experiences and attainments for all young Australians.

The final report by Associate Professor Kitty te Riele (pictured above) of Victoria University can be downloaded here: Putting the Jigsaw Together: Flexible Learning in Australia (1.7 MB)

Other research outputs from the project include:

  • A detailed database of flexible learning programs across Australia, accessible at the program database on the Dusseldorp Forum website.
  • Case-study vignettes provide insights into how 22 programs work, and the outcomes they achieve, are accessible on the Dusseldorp Forum case studies page.
  • Detailed case study reports of eight programs, accessible here.

This research was led by Associate Professor Kitty te Riele from The Victoria Institute for Education, Diversity and Lifelong Learning (part of the Australian Government’s Collaborative Research Network) and supported by The Ian Potter Foundation.