Transforming Agriculture Education Through Flexible Learning Approaches

10. 4. 2024

Educators, farmers’ associations, industry professionals, researchers and policymakers met on Tuesday, March 9 to explore flexible learning as an innovative approach to transforming agricultural education in Ireland. The roundtable discussion held online at the invitation of the Technological University of the Shannon, Ireland, under the auspices of the AgriNext Project underscored the importance of flexible learning in advancing agricultural education and ensuring that agriculture education remains relevant, adaptable, and responsive to the needs of learners, industries, and societies.

Drawing participants from the Further Education and Training Authority (SOLAS), Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA), Education and Training Boards (ETBs), Agricultural Colleges, and Teagasc - the national agency providing research, advisory and education in agriculture, the event shed light on innovative and best practices of flexible learning in shaping the future of agricultural education in Ireland and beyond. For example, The TUS Learning Gate, a concept highlighted by Dr Michael Tobin, Dean of the Faculty of Continuing, Professional, Online and Distance Learning, enables students and academic staff to meet and learn in a remote working hub, minimising the necessity of travel to the campus and seeking out a quiet and professional space to work in.


Key insights of the roundtable include:

  • Tailoring agricultural education to farmers’ and industry needs
  • Designing inclusive learning opportunities for people with disabilities
  • Recognition of micro-credentials and prior learning experiences
  • Leveraging technology for enhanced learning
  • Creating more agriculture education programmes.
  • Allowing more flexibilization in the enrolment process (start dates)
  • Providing outreach officers who can engage with farmers and point them in the right direction to begin their (online/flexible) learning journey.


The outcome of the discussion will be a proposed draft for the flexibility of education in multifunctional agriculture.