How to (re)design for independent learning

Developing independent learners in any educational context is a challenge, particularly when students may have previously experienced educational processes or ways of learning in their own countries and cultures where this approach is not actively encouraged.

Considerable planning is needed to nurture independent learning – not so that teachers can retreat from the scene, but so that students can develop critical thinking skills and drive their own learning agenda for the longer term.

Designed and launched in 2012, myStudySpace is an additional online support offered to guide those studying face-to-face at Navitas English ELICOS centres (English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students). The online platform is now quite well-established, but as with any study aid, benefits from occasional evaluation to understand which elements are remaining relevant, and which need a fresh approach to keep students engaged.

The redevelopment of myStudySpace took place over 2014-15, involving students and staff from all ELICOS centres. Many were involved in the initial research that fed into site redevelopment and got to contribute to the new design, new content and video-based language learning materials.

The implementation and launch of this redesigned platform saw a 95% increase in student uptake in the first 5 months and an increased appetite for enhancing face-to-face classes with an online learning space. Perhaps more importantly, the redevelopment has helped us to further understand the direction ELICOS would like to take in terms of its student and staff engagement with learning technologies – it’s not just about a single platform, but what that tells us about the overall student experience. This short animated video shares a little more about the process and what we learned:

Contact to request the full report and read about the future challenges and possibilities in this space.