23 April 2013
23 April 2013,

As a learner I found myself wondering why e-study material was not packaged better. I am not talking textbooks, but the course material that binds the learning material, and may also provide insights and inspirational gems.

Focused learning, with expectations of specific outcomes, benefits from well-constructed connective tissue. Learning material can be found in all sorts of places but knowing where to go and how to scaffold this information towards a learning goal is the key to achieving understanding that satisfies learning outcomes. I call course material’s connective tissue the learning narrative.

I don’t have time to hunt out the knowledge I need, and I don’t want distractions. I have paid for clear direction that will deliver both a pathway to knowledge, and the material itself. I should be able to master the learning outcomes if I apply myself to the path provided in the course material. I am learner and a consumer.

Some learning material will be on the internet, some may be in a library, some may come from peers. I do not care where it is so long as it is easy to access and is part of the structured learning path. I don’t mind side streets as long as they are clearly signposted. Side streets are not a distraction if they provide useful knowledge, which may help me gain an edge.

Distractions kill precious time. Distractions can be an inability to get on the internet when everything I need is there, or looking through hundreds of pages of text for a quote because there is no search function, or when my facebook keeps asking me to like this and comment on that, or when I can’t read my study guide on a two hour flight because it is a huge folder I could not take in my hand luggage.

In a learner-centred world the course guide is a mobile e-package that has enough interactivity to test me and remind me of connections to learning outcomes: it keeps me on-task. It has links to OERs and online resources including discussion forums, text books, support services and my tutors.

My learning resource has enough rich material in it to keep me occupied when I am not online – it is useful wherever I am, truly mobile – and provides me with a pathway to follow. I can trust it to deliver the right connections, the right material, and ask the right questions at the right time as I work through the offering.

It is really simple. Give me a learning narrative. Give me a well-designed eBook.