Frugal Education: What, why, and how?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Downloads (Pure)


This paper explores how frugal innovation practices can challenge resource constraints by leveraging available resources in creative and innovative ways towards more affordable, practical, sustainable and resilient education practice. The education sector has faced many challenges when adapting practice to deliver quality education in the wake of a world-changing pandemic. There is a great deal we can learn from each other with regards to the frugal application of resources, such as time, money, people and space. However, forms of frugality in education design are driven by necessity and are reactive as opposed to proactive measures. We can, however, learn from educators and institutions that have been able to achieve significant educational impact at low cost with far fewer resources, adopting frugal approaches to education design and delivery. This paper proposes a set of frugal education aspects that demonstrate how frugal design practices can be organised and applied within an educational context. The aspects are outlined, and examples are presented to illustrate their effectiveness within existing education practice. This paper seeks to contribute to the existing knowledge base and research into frugal innovation practice as it applies within an education context, reframing the use of the term ‘frugal’ away from affordability and poor quality, towards a more expansive understanding that establishes a foundation on which to build, define, and contextualise frugality within an education context. The paper concludes with recommendations for the development of practical resources, informed by the research, to support educators in the design of frugal education practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages22
JournalFuture in Educational Research
Early online date13 May 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2024

Bibliographical note

© 2024 The Authors. Future in Educational Research published by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd on behalf of Southwest University.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Economic and Social Research Council
UK Research and Innovation. Grant Number: ES/T004789/1


  • Frugal Education
  • Sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Education Design
  • Sustainable Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Frugal Education: What, why, and how?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this