In recent years the demand for new tools to support the growing need for guidance within lifelong learning has increased. One strategic response has been to take advantage of the Internet, in the belief that it offers greater accessibility to guidance for a wider range of potential users, particularly those who face difficulties in accessing more traditional forms of guidance. There is, however, a gap between the expectation of Internet-based products to provide reliable solutions and the actual development of trustworthy guidance tools. The present Guidelines aim to contribute to bridging this gap.
The approach chosen is to highlight the essential aspects which are: the range of existing web-based guidance services, how the adult users align themselves with these services, how these services/tools are to be developed and which guidance theories are relevant for this support. We consider a double perspective on this issue, corresponding to our identified target groups: the adult users/ clients and the guidance practitioners – who can be guidance counsellors, content designers for web-based guidance or developers. In accordance with this, the Guidelines can be seen as consisting of two parts: one addressing the needs of the end users/ adult clients and practitioners (guidance counsellors) wishing to identify and use existing web-guidance services (chapters I and II); and one addressing practitioners/ developers wishing to implement a web-based guidance tool (chapters III, IV and V). Each chapter gives the relevant perspective and addresses specific issues, thus highlighting useful aspects for the reader/ user. The first chapter addresses the end users i.e. people who are able to use the Internet by themselves, for self-help, and guidance counsellors that may assist them. This chapter highlights the advantages and disadvantages of the new medium, draws a general user profile and it gives useful tips regarding the handling and reviewing the information available on the web. It also focuses on the cognitive skills of the user. The next chapter (“Delivery”) makes an inventory of the guidance service that can be delivered through the web, trying to answer the following questions: what is the rationale for delivering this kind of services, what can a guidance counsellor deliver through the web, how can effectiveness be achieved, what are the necessary skills of the guidance practitioner using the Internet in his/her practice, what is the impact on the guidance practice and what monitoring and evaluation refers to in this context? The third chapter addresses design issues for web development in the field of guidance and how to implement such tool. Aspects like how design can support the content of a website, awareness about human behaviour, design criteria and supporting different learning styles through design, evaluation and ethical considerations are few of the issues treated here. The theory chapter makes an assessment of traditional and new career theories in relation to Internet guidance. It is written directly for guidance practitioners who want to develop guidance services on the web. It is also considers the impact of this new form of guidance on the guidance practitioners role. The final chapter considers ethical aspects and brings together previous issues by highlighting the ethical challenges the integration of web-based guidance brings to careers guidance practice. It also stands as a conclusion of the whole analysis attempted by this set of guidelines.
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Last update: 15:58 18/06 2004