Tuesday, 4 January 2011

The self-motivated learner

I was struck by this headline in a mashable article - The internet empowers self-motivated learners. This is a good way of putting something that is blindingly obvious. But is it therefore not good for learners who are not so self-motivated? The internet is well suited to learners who are completely self-regulated, aggregating learning resources from a variety of sources, seeking out their own channels of support and collaboration. There has never been a better time to manage your own learning experience. However, where you have learners who are not motivated the management of the learning experience is done by someone else. In formal education this is always what happens. All learners have to be catered for and, even where the teacher wants to give free rein, its easier to set a strict agenda.

This is probably why there are so many tensions with online learning. For better or for worse learning is synonymous formal education in 2011 (happy new year) and with formal education more time is spent on managing the learning experience than anything else. This is the way it's always been online or offline. From the learners perspective I also believe that the habit of active learning is sorely lacking. Self-regulation and control is something closely guarded by educators. As a result, when given the opportunity to take control many don't know what to do. They neither want it or expect it. This is a rejection of the ethos of managing your own learning rather than a rejection of technology. Unfortunately, things are often interpreted incorrectly.

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