FlexScan | for a common approach to flexible education


08 April 2020

CINOP and ECIO have developed the FlexScan together with a number of colleges. The FlexScan is an accessible and easy-to-use instrument that can be used at team, sector and/or organisational level within school organisations. The FlexScan helps to visualise the experienced and desired flexibility in education.

The call for more innovation in (higher) education is increasing. There is a need for more flexibility, personalized education, responding to the needs and characteristics of learners and the business community. The FlexScan has been developed to support universities of applied sciences.

Students differ in terms of their learning styles, prior education, and personal and cultural backgrounds. Students’ personal circumstances also vary widely; just consider students with informal care duties, student mothers, student entrepreneurs, student athletes and students with limited capacity due to a disability or chronic illness.

Flexibility, differentiation and a more customised approach can all help us to address the growing diversity among our student population. Former Minister Bussemaker encouraged educational institutions to implement these concepts in practice through her Strategic Agenda and other policy documents (Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, 2015). Today’s dynamic society and labour market call for educational institutions capable of delivering well-educated and discerning professionals/citizens. A growing number of educational institutions and degree programmes are taking up the gauntlet, and they have started to improve the flexibility of their education.

In an effort to support the institutions in this process, handicap + studie has developed the FlexScan in collaboration with CINOP. This instrument ‘measures’ students’ perceptions of flexibility within the current education system on the basis of various aspects. It can also be applied to assess ambitions in terms of flexible education development.

Structure of the FlexScan

The FlexScan assesses 7 different aspects of flexibility:

  1. Provision of information
  2. Intake
  3. Curriculum
  4. Lecturer
  5. Assessment
  6. APL, certificates and diplomas
  7. Educational logistics

These 7 aspects have been further divided into various sub-aspects. For each sub-aspect, one of four flexibility phases can be selected:


There is a fixed curriculum with the option of individual ad hoc exceptions.


Although the curriculum is fixed, policies have been put in place to facilitate exceptions.


The curriculum consists of a fixed range of components from which students can compile their own personal learning package.


Students are free to shape their own learning pathway (within or outside of the school) in consultation with their degree programme. This process is based around an individually customised approach.

Getting to grips with the FlexScan

The FlexScan is flexible and allows for a customised approach. It can be applied at a central or decentralised level, in individual or group-based settings, in online or offline environments, and so on. FlexScans may also be conducted in various formats (in writing, digitally or on paper, by means of an individual interview or group interview). More flexible education is not necessarily better. The FlexScan can be applied to gain a clearer picture of the current and desired situation. It provides insight and does not set standards.