Learners need guidance in several ways – content, tools, study skills. This was evident in the MOOCs in the last couple of years. They were way out on the bleeding edge, but many accomplished educator/learners were really disoriented and frustrated. Some tools and scaffolding were developed over time such as Downes’ daily course emails that gathered up bits from many different sources and tools. Admittedly this was not-for-credit so there was less incentive to just figure it out or insist that some alternative be available.
The chapter title in the book outline included Study Guides when I selected it two years ago. I had no idea what that was, so I just made a distinction recognizing that there needed to be direction and/oversight to satisfy credit requirements. I’m not sure what the folks who created the book outline meant by Study Guide, there is definitely a need for specific component like this in a learning environment.
There is place for something like this: “You are here. For credit you need to get to there. Here are some paths, milestones and landmarks along the way. Work at your own pace, but sync up with the others in the cohort at these times/dates for the collaborative / collegial experience. If you are really interested in this subject, here are some references and people who are subject matter experts that you can follow. If you have questions, please ask. We are here to help. We want you to be successful. Share your ideas and suggestions. We are sure that you will discover much that is important and interesting and we want to be a part of that.”
In the CCK MOOCs many participants were pretty insistent that this was for the learner to figure out and execute. In my experience with faculty and community college students, they need a lot of direction and support. The personal part of the guidance is important because individual interest, time and technology preferences are so divergent that one size doesn’t fit all.