Monday, 1 October 2007

Self-managed learning

The debate about different models of e-learning continues. I have often heard it argued that print-based self-study materials don’t translate well to an online format because statements of aims and objectives don’t work. I am sympathetic to this view – it’s not that you don’t need to be clear about aims and objectives, but constantly re-stating them, as open learning workbooks often do, tends to come across as repetitive and too didactic in an online medium.

I spoke to an experienced training manager last week who said “we need to treat learners like adults”. Without referencing any typology of models, he was arguing in favour of what I call the third model (see my blog post of Monday 30 July), in which learning resources are offered to be used as the learner sees fit, for self-managed learning. There seems to be increasing support for this model, and I can see further useful applications of it for CPD and for performance support, neither of which are loose or informal learning approaches.

I recently discovered Wikiversity for the first time. See This is a third model project, which describes how members of its community originally intended to develop e-learning courses, but were re-directed by their trustees to take a different approach. The learning cycle diagram, above, comes from Wikiversity. This is an exciting development, with implications for everyone involved in e-learning.

I’d be interested to hear of other ‘third model’ applications.

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