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projectfoto Flexistap

Problem outline
The landscape of higher education (HE) has changed dramatically in recent years due to the growing social importance of lifelong learning. The influx of students is therefore more heterogeneous than ever before. Entrants are no longer 18-year-old students, but increasingly have a different profile. The student population of the AP University College has also changed in recent years and, with the expansion of graduate programmes, will diversify even more. As a result, flexibility has become a crucial agenda item in higher education. In Flanders, flexibility has so far mainly been given a one-sided interpretation and often evolves towards a target group policy that focuses on certain groups of students, e.g. students who combine work and learning, students who already have a degree ... Flexible pathways are set up for these target groups, while 'regular students' follow the standard pathway. The reality, however, is not so black and white. On the one hand we see that students from specific target groups still choose for a standard trajectory, on the other hand more and more 'regular students' ask for more flexibility. A pure target group policy therefore remains difficult to maintain.

Research design
This research project aims to bring clarity to this complex situation.Through a literature study, database analyses, questionnaire research, focus groups and interviews, it attempts to map the diversity and flexibility needs of the AP student population and the extent to which the curriculum is tailored to these needs. In doing so, it poses the question which incoming profiles can be distinguished and whether they differ from each other 1) in terms of learning and motivation characteristics and language skills and 2) flexibility needs. Finally, in the context of flexibilisation of higher education, this research project tries to explore other flexible paths than a target group policy.