What are learners looking for? Put simply, support and guidance, and a trusted source of information. It sounds simple but it is not.
The learner is an individual. Each will have different learning styles and capabilities. Within the frame of providing support and information each will require a different approach. But this is where technology can provide solutions.
Trend analysis tells us that learners are looking to take control of their learning. They wish to disembark from the education tanker and take their own speedboat to success. They are not interested in paying for the tanker’s upkeep.
So what does the learning speedboat look like? It will have to make the learning goals clear; provide support networks; be a trustworthy source of guidance; be available anytime on any device, and be simple to use.
It is a framework for learning: a coursebook. A resource that provides the guidance, connections and the authority learners need in order to have confidence they are heading for success. A key point here is that the coursebook, unlike a textbook, does not contain the learning material, the information itself. That comes from a variety of sources, pointed to and given authority by the coursebook.
A coursebook is not a new idea. What is new is the technology that allows downloadable rich media to be available on multiple devices, backups through the Cloud and connections to the Internet for great learning experiences. The learner, with a coursebook in hand, chooses their level of support and the length of time they need to achieve competency.
Coursebooks can be as simple as a well-designed PDF. Using images, colour, format and an engaging voice can be very effective. However, current technology allows coursebooks to contain short video, self-assessments and interactive media. In order to support completion coursebooks can speak back to the institution, warning of inactivity and allowing for accurate interventions to re-motivate the learner.
However technologically-developed the coursebook, the key is good design and keeping the purpose of the coursebook in the crosshairs. The coursebook is there to orientate the learner, provide guidance and support, and be a trusted authority pointing to the resources needed for successful learning. The coursebook is there to empower the learner and allow them to take control of their learning.