As you may know, adding elements of self-study into the curriculum is important to support and develop student understanding of content materials, it also gives enable them to take ideas, develop them, discuss and apply them to synthesise their knowledge. This can be done through guided or independent study. This page will look at elements of both and will give suggestions on how to build independent skills by moving from guided study to independent through a variety digital and pedagogic approaches.
This form of study is usually facilitated by the lecturer and utilises key resources and questions to scaffold and develop learning. Guided study can be undertaken by individuals or during group work depending on how you would like the students to work. One advantage of working in groups is the ability for students to learn from each other, build upon existing ideas and come to a better understanding of concepts (scaffolding). Below you can find some examples of ideas that can help students with guided study by using digital elements as well as some pedagogically focussed areas.
Panopto box sets
Guided study can be achieved by using asynchronous videos (Panopto) alongside other activities. By having multiple small videos, that collate into one full topic can create a ‘boxset’ approach. I.e. mini episodes which, when added together, form a full boxset or series. This can be achieved in Blackboard by adding Panopto links into the weekly structure to ensure consistency within the students learning journey. To help support students using the boxset approach, we have found that labelling the videos such as 1/5, 2/5 can be really useful to symbolise which videos feed into each other, especially when paired with a clear decription on how this fits into the wider module/activities.
When paired with activities which utilise questioning (see questioning section above) this can become a powerful self-study tool to move students from knowledge and comprehension to synthesis and evaluation. Below we have an example from an academic that uses this approach, however, they also have created templates, within their programme, to make sure that the learning journey and approach is consistent and clear to students.
LinkedIn learning is a software that all students and staff have access to and it has a wide range of rich video content ready to use. All of these can be added and collated to playlists, alongside activities to promote guided study. However, one other feature, to make learning more impactful and meaningful, is to upload your own content to this system. This will allow you to create a playlist with videos (a mixture of LinkedIn and your own content), activities, url’s and documents all embedded together to make a well structured learning path for the students.
Related resources & activities
To learn more about this tool please visit the Resource Hub
Questioning is a vital part of guided study and, if used correctly, can help facilitate development and growth of understanding. It can be used as part of a session (see pulse checking section of the site) or alongside study resources to aid students in embedding ideas and developing concrete understanding. We would recommend looking at ‘Blooms Taxonomy‘ to support question design and development. This will help you move the student through various phases of understanding. These range from simple knowledge and comprehension to analysis, synthesis and evaluation and by accessing these higher order questions, can help students think deeper and analyse content to form their own opinions.
Guided study works well, especially at the beginning of studying, by giving good opprtunities to model outcomes. Through examples, students learn and embed elements of study whilst building evaluation and synthesis skills. They are then ready to move onto independent study and apply all the approaches they have experienced.
Whilst studying independently, it can still be useful to have activities to supplement and support the development of greater understanding. Activities which focus on synthesis and evaluation can be really useful to make sure to concepts are embedded. See below for some ideas about utilising activities to support independent study.
Related resources & activities
Case study | Clare Miller – Student created information videos on infection control | Link to Youtube
Case study | Ross Williams – Discussion boards simulating professional committees | Link to Youtube
Learning recipe | Combining research with blog writing | Link to external site
Throughout a students learning journey, it is vital to have a mixture of guided, peer and independent study. These methods can be used as stepping stones, or can scaffold development, to ensure students can apply independent research and evaluation skills. Below is an info graphic which explains the processes that can be used to support development from from the early stages of self study (guided), through an intermediate stage of peer-to-peer study, eventually culminating in the student being able to study independently.