There are a number advantages and disadvantages for Pierre with both open and distributed learning models. He is a very capable student with many strengths but also some learning challenges. By recognizing and addressing these challenges Pierre, his teachers and learning support team can help him achieve success in his field of interest. Motivation and engagement are important for him, as is the way he interacts with the material in presentation and response. Pierre’s goal is to obtain employment as a computer animator. He already has experience in this area but will need to further develop his skills in order to become more employable. Within this technology field there will be many options for either open or distributed courses and programs to choose from.
An open learning model would allow Pierre to freely explore his areas of interest and really dive into the specific topics that he enjoys and most interested in. He would have massive amounts of information available to him and the ability to connect and collaborate with multiple teachers, experts and other students with shared interests. He would have the ability to work comfortably in his own optimised learning space at his own pace and seek out assistance as needed. His engagement would likely be quite strong within an open education environment and he would have opportunities to engage with others and have others view, comment, and engage with his work which would be very beneficial. Moreover, Pierre may need to be careful that he does not get carried away with certain specific topics, especially those he is already familiar with, and avoid certain topics that he is unfamiliar with. It would be beneficial for him to receive some guidance in how to structure his working time and overall scope of his learning. While he may participate in a number of open courses for free or at a limited cost, these courses may also be un-accredited and may not provide the credentials that are expected by potential employers.
A distributed learning model would likely provide Pierre with more structure and ensure a more well-rounded education that covers most if not all relevant material for his field of focus. He would still be able to work from his own comfortable space and ask questions as needed. He may be able to develop a stronger relationship with individual teachers or a learning support team who understand and can support his unique learning needs, help him to structure how he navigates through the course and provide clear and timely feedback to keep him on track. Successful completion of an accredited and recognized distributed learning program would likely provide him with the credentials to work for an animation company. Pierre is not typically a social learner and could likely complete much of his distributed learning individually but he may miss out on building some teamwork and collaboration skills that may be more easily built in a more open environment. He may struggle with certain areas of the program which are of less interest to him or where he does not immediately see the purpose of what he is learning. He may also struggle to meet expected deadlines.
An open learning environment may provide a higher level of engagement for Pierre, however ultimately we would recommend a distributed program from an accredited institution with a proven track record of successful participants gaining employment in established computer animation companies. An open learning environment may still provide Pierre with the skills to become a capable animator who could market himself to take on private contracts, however, his primary interests are in his art and computer animation skills and not becoming an entrepreneur that would also need to develop an additional set of marketing and networking skills to gain and maintain employment. Given his strong interest in the subject, with the proper supports, we believe Pierre can be successful in overcoming the obstacles facing him to complete a distributed program and meet his employment goal.