SLMs include all the material prepared to stimulate independent study/learning. The
learners in distance education have less contact with either the institution or the
tutor, and depend heavily on these specially prepared teaching materials
Simply reading the study material does not guarantee learning. The material has to
be such that the learners can interact with it more and learn better. This characteristic
of SLMs is known as learning activeness.
Self-learning Materials (SLMs) differ from a chapter of a textbook or an article
of a journal. The chapters of a text book usually present information in a very
compact form. They are closer to reference material than to learning materials.
The main characteristics of SLMs are discussed as follows:
Self-contained : The written text is self-contained so that a learner does not immediately
need additional sources. All information required by the learner is included. This
does not mean that additional reading will not be required. What is essential is
that the material received is complete in itself and the learner later can build
on it with additional material if required.
Self-directed : Self study material are written in such a way that the student receives
guidance, hints and suggestions at each stage of learning. Clear objectives, simple
explanations, sequential development, apt illustrations, and appropriate learning
activities are utilized. The material performs the role of a teacher.
Self-motivating : The study materials is highly motivational for the learners and
make the entire learning relevant to the learner’s real life context.
Self-evaluating : In order to know whether the learners are proceeding on the right
track. Self-evaluation in the form of self check questions, exercises, etc. will
assist in making this possible.
These are now available both in computer managed as well as traditional print forms.
Some instructors find such material useful even though they are available for teaching
in the classroom.