Learning pathway is described as the chosen route, taken by a learner through a range of (commonly) e-learning activities, which allows them to build knowledge progressively. With learning pathways, the control of choice moves away from the tutor to the learner. "The sequence of intermediate steps from preconceptions to target model form what Scott (1991) and Niedderer and Goldberg (1995) have called a learning pathway. For any particular topic, such a pathway would provide both a theory of instruction and a guideline for teachers and curriculum developers" (Clement 2000).
"Interactive courseware aids learners to access information and tools by which they can construct personalized transitions between the information to be accessed and their own cognitive structures. The process of navigation enables learners to experience the content of interactive courseware. Learning pathways also reveal the learning trails while learners traverse any interactive environment. Since learners have unique knowledge structures based upon their experiences and abilities, the ways that they choose to access, interact, and interrelate messages in interactive courseware also vary. Studies on pathways help us to explore and explain human behaviors during learning processes" (Jih 1996).
Another well known definition of a learning path is defined by the Learning Paths methodology for employee training developed by Jim Williams and Steve Rosenbaum, which uses a performance improvement approach to learning and defines a Learning Path as the ideal sequence of learning activities that drives employees to reach proficiency in their job in the shortest possible time. In the Learning Paths methodology a Learning Path is created for the entire job done by an employee. By looking at learning as a complete process rather than a single event, a Learning Path enables employers and employees to find new ways to drive out time, waste and variability in training which leads to improved results and reduced costs (Williams & Rosenbaum 2004). Learning Paths have been proven to reduce time to proficiency by 30-50%.
- Clement, J. (2000). "Model based learning as a key research area for science education". International Journal of Science Education. 22 (9): 1041–1053. doi:10.1080/095006900416901.
- Jih, H. J. (1996). "The impact of learners pathways on learning performance in multimedia Computer Aided Learning". Journal of Network and Computer Applications. 19 (4).
- Williams, Jim; Rosenbaum, Steve (2004). Learning Paths Increase Profits by Reducing the Time it Takes Employees to Get Up-To-Speed. San Francisco: Pfeiffer.