Self-Learning Materials should not make the learner turn to a guide for further explanations. For this purpose, the matter should be laid out in a phased manner so that the learner can progress from the basic unit to the compound whole. In the science subjects and related disciplines this is more or less a standard mode of teaching or learning. In the humanities, especially at the postgraduate level, this can be done by referring back to the basic concepts of literary history, major figures, and so on.Explanations of difficult concepts can be done in various ways: firstly, by phasing out matter and going step by step. From the simpler to the more complex. A variation of this can take place through some activity-oriented device. For a discipline like literature, this can happen through a pointer to a passage from the text and questions set on it.
Self-Learning Materials must contain the qualities of a teacher. They should not merely be the encyclopedias of the subject but must invite the learner to move ahead with enough clues and tips to learn all the essential milestones that characterise the discipline. In fact, good self-learning materials can include much more than a simple classroom lesson where, if the teaching is below par, the teacher will end up being superficially explanatory.
SLM should be clear as to how the learner must proceed. There are general guidelines as to how good SLM must be laid out but institutions and educators working on this aspect should be clear that the learner must not be deterred by an unclear method. The learner should be able to follow without difficulty the course that is being disseminated.For instance, in all literary study, basic knowledge of literary history is essential. We cannot understand Shakespeare unless we relate it to his context! This direction must always be evident to the student and the SLM must take care of that.
SLM must allow the learner to achieve a sense of accomplishment at the various stages of the course.Motivation is serious business in education! No worthy teacher can afford to lose sight of this fundamental factor. This has to be incorporated within the equally worthy SLM.The learner must gather the sense of interest in the discipline that the SLM must impart.'Interesting" is a key definition of all SLM.
Every SLM must allow the learner to self-evaluate. Evaluation by the tutor comes only after the learner has the motivation to progress and has judged for herself that something has been learned. This is done with the help of small self-assessment questions, etc. that are included in the body of the material. Educators have to decide just how to include assessment devices in the SLM but must not leave it out. There is no learning if there is no sense of intellectual movement and this sense of movement can be provided only by the techniques decided upon as acceptable.