Flexible Learning Options Programmatic


With a full-time job and family responsibilities, it can be challenging to accommodate a traditional classroom learning schedule. Opportunities to learn need to be accessible. Healthcare employers often work with educational partners to provide flexible learning models that better accommodate working adults. Onsite, online, self-paced, competency-based, and accelerated learning are examples of options that provide flexibility to employees. Some employers provide release time so employees can learn during the work day and transportation support for offsite classes.


Flexible learning options are a cornerstone to building a culture of advancement. As a first step, employers should assess policies and processes to ensure they support accessible learning. It’s important to engage employees – not only potential program participants but managers, too.  Mid-level managers support is vital, as they play a critical role accommodating flexible schedules and encouraging workers to take advantage of learning opportunities.

Setting up flexible learning options often involves discussion and negotiation with education partners. Flexible learning that is coordinated through an industry partnership will align learning programs with the needs of regional healthcare employers.

Here are some questions to ask external and internal partners.

For colleges, training organizations, or other education providers:

  • Can they deliver coursework onsite at multiple times to accommodate people working different shifts?
  • Are there online learning options where employees can go at their own pace?
  • Can they provide support and retention services, such as coaching and mentoring, to boost course completion rates?
  • Is there an accelerated or compressed learning option?

For internal partners:

  • Is there onsite space for classes and learning?
  • Are there computers available?
  • Can employees be released during their shifts to learn?
  • Would the learning program qualify for tuition assistance?

For employees:

  • What would make it easier for you to learn new skills?
  • Which options for classes would work best for you: online, onsite, at an education partner location? Before, during, or after work?


Creating More ‘Pockets of Good’: Fostering Innovation in Post-Pandemic Healthcare Education, Volta Learning Group and Northern Essex Community College

This playbook contains specific recommendations to address evolving workforce needs and increase diversity and equity through new and more flexible education and training models.

Flexible Learning Options for Adult Students, Vickie Choitz and Heath Prince A Report by FutureWorks and Jobs for the Future, April 2008.

This paper examines emerging trends in public postsecondary education that offer adult learners more flexible access to courses and help accelerate their progress through credential programs.

Developing America’s Frontline Workers, Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and UpSkill America, 2016.

A survey of 365 U.S.-based businesses to explore what they are doing to develop their frontline workers, as well as reveal the business impact of respective developmental initiatives or programs.

Strategic Guide to Building a Culture of Learning, Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp) and UpSkill America.

A one-page guide that outlines Six Essential Actions to Build a Strong Learning Culture.

UpSkilling Playbook for Employers, Aspen Institute.

Website with multiple resources, information, trends, and practices that can help companies implement their own upskilling programs.

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