To be flexible and responsive to change in any given situation or work environment, or in response to the needs, wishes or demands of others.


Adaptability means the ability to be flexible and adjust to changing factors, conditions or environments. It is about making decisions in complex and unpredictable situations, which may be uncertain or ambiguous. Being adaptable is a highly valued skill in nearly every workplace. People with adaptability skills are never discouraged by failure; they are open to both positive and negative change. 
Adaptability is a sought-after job skill and the ability to adapt to changing situations and expectations makes it more valuable to a current or prospective employer. An adaptable person will be able to source new resources and techniques that have not been utilised before. 
Employers want people with the personal confidence to respond positively to change and new ways of working; people who are prepared to rise to the challenge of dealing with the unfamiliar and show they can cope with the new or unexpected. They need employees who can adapt to changing customer needs, technological capabilities, and job roles. 

Key behaviours associated with being adaptable

  • Flexible
  • Adjustable
  • Accommodating
  • Versatile
  • Resilient
  • Open-minded
  • Co-operative
  • Willing
  • Positive
  • Amenable
  • Responsive
  • Managing challenges
  • Tenacity
  • Agile mind set
  • Collaborative
  • Reflexivity
  • Responding to feedback
  • Receptiveness
  • Creativity
  • Divergent

Examples of Outcomes

Students should be able to: 

  • Respond flexibly and adapt their skills and knowledge to excel in unfamiliar situations/tasks
  • Provide a contingency plan for when things don’t go to plan
  • Anticipate and respond positively to changing environments
  • Take on new challenges at short notice
  • Look for ways to make changes work rather than identifying why change won't work
  • Demonstrate the integration of new information and draw conclusions from it; switch from the detail to the big picture
  • Adjust style of working or method of approach to meet the needs of a situation or task
  • Adjust behaviour and emotions when something new or different arises
  • Challenge assessment process and ask for different approach
  • Demonstrate perseverance and positivity in multitasking, dealing with change and meeting new challenges
  • Take on board new ideas and concepts

Curriculum Design Strategies

Include formative and summative assessments which require students to adapt to external factors or a changing position or viewpoint e.g. projects, interviews, vivas.  
Include critical reflections on research strategies undertaken. 
This attribute is linked to being ‘Resilient

Curriculum Delivery Strategies (examples)

  • Group Work – Provide opportunities for students to select different roles when asked to solve a problem.  
  • Critical Self-Reflection – Facilitate self-reflection on contingencies adopted to deal with an activity or problem solving task. 
  • Simulation – Encourage students to adopt different roles when working with peers in simulated experiences, and to discuss how they adapted to the situation posed. 
  • Mock negotiations and debates - Provide the opportunity to introduce classroom debates, focused on a relevant topic, and understanding the importance of delivery in a professional manner.