4.1 Learner experience and identifying relevant resources

As discussed previously, learners on MOOCs will have a wide range of study experiences. Some will be supplementing their study, or have an academic background. Others will have no experience of higher education, or may not have embarked on any study for an extremely long time.

It is vital to try and gauge the level or type of study that learners would be comfortable with. You may have been able to deduce from conversations and introductions outlined in Section 3.1 what their experience is, which will help enable you to make suggestions.

Even a brief conversation with a learner about their learning experience should enable you to gauge a basic view, and monitoring their patterns of participation (Section 3.4) may underline confidence issues or lack of understanding of the internet.

For instance, a learner who mentions that they have a BSc in chemistry may not find the OpenLearn course Essay and report writing skills [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] particularly useful, but might be interested in seeing the range of academic modules and qualifications available in The Open University’s Science section.

Conversely, a learner who reveals that they are nervous as they haven’t studied since they were 16 may run a mile if you direct them towards academic modules. However, they could benefit from a suggestion of trying the OpenLearn course Learning to learn.

Making informed choices

The important thing is to be able to make an informed choice when directing learners to further study and promoting OU resources:

  1. If you are not familiar with the range of content on OpenLearn, have a good look through and note different sections that you feel may be useful to some of the learners.
  2. Make sure that you are up to date with the qualifications and modules available from The Open University.
  3. You may wish to take a look at ‘Welcome to OpenLearn: Free learning from The Open University’, which gives a lot more detail plus lists of resources grouped into personal and professional development sections.
  4. Promote other OU resources to help learners on other platforms and channels such as:
    • Bibblio (free OU audio and video content)
    • Audioboo (free audio downloads for many different devices)
    • iTunesU (free audio downloads for Apple devices)
    • YouTube (free OU video content)
    • Googleplay (free OU ebooks for download)
    • Facebook (holds OU chat sessions and many other things)
    • Twitter – encourage them to follow the @OUfreelearning account where they can search for conversations about the course they are on using the course hashtag and also be kept up to date with news and links about other free OU content.

4 Encouraging further study

4.2 Suggesting resources