Designing on-demand education for simultaneous development of domain-specific and self-directed learning skills

Elisabeth M.C. Taminiau, Liesbeth Kester, Gemma Corbalan, J. Michael Spector, Paul A. Kirschner, Jeroen Van Merriënboer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


On-demand education enables individual learners to choose their learning pathways according to their own learning needs. They must use self-directed learning (SDL) skills involving self-assessment and task selection to determine appropriate pathways for learning. Learners who lack these skills must develop them because SDL skills are prerequisite to developing domain-specific skills. This article describes the design of an on-demand learning environment developed to enable novices to simultaneously develop their SDL and domain-specific skills. Learners received advice on their self-assessments and their selections of subsequent learning tasks. In the domain of system dynamics – a way to model a dynamic system and draw graphs depicting the system’s behaviour over time – advice on self-assessment is provided in a scoring rubric containing relevant performance standards. Advice on task selection indicates all relevant task aspects to be taken into account, including recommendations for suitable learning tasks which meet the individual learner’s needs. This article discusses the design of the environment and the learners’ perceptions of its usefulness. Most of the times, the learners found the advice appropriate and they followed it in 78% of their task selections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-421
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number5
Early online date7 Aug 2014
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2015


  • Advice
  • Domain-specific skills
  • On-demand education
  • Second-order scaffolding
  • Self-directed learning skills

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