Back in 2006 I undertook some research in to approaches to developing autonomy in HE. Today as I began to look at the Independent Learning Plans of new learners, I recognised that the use of ILPs had evolved in two key ways on the BA LTR.
We have offered our learners a greater freedom in how they create an ILP. Whilst a text-based approach is modelled by the provision of a template, learners are actively encouraged to utilise a planning format that complements their preference. For example, some choose a chart others a list, others a diagram. This freedom is in itself an, albeit minor, increase in autonomy designed to allow the ILP to become a living document suited to the learners style.
The ILP now runs over a whole term. It covers two modules instead of a single module. This allows learners to better plan their time, seeing their entire semester at once creates an honest picture of the course demands and possibilities therein, it helps then to eradicate the rush in the second module since it has been as visible from the beginning. The semester long plan also allows the learner to build up a links or cognitive maps of related ideas, so the modules can feed in to each other. For example, in the BA LTR the second module involves some evaluating and exploring of technology. To ease the workload and to maximise the experiences to inform this second module, a culture of technological experimentation has been generated within the first module.