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This paper presents a study that looks at ways to support learners in open learning environments by applying cognitive science and learning theories. Open learning is a form of online learning that allows learning materials and courses to be freely available on the Internet and accessible to anyone who is interested. The focus in this paper is the presentation of learning contents. Based on the concept of schema theory, the knowledge map has been chosen to organise and present learning contents. The aim is to support learners for self-regulated learning by providing a full encapsulation for course contents to help them, especially novice learners, to conceptualise the domain and the structure of the course. A prototype has been developed and piloted on a group of IT students. The students perspectives on the use of the knowledge maps and how they affect their learning have been collected through two surveys. A total of 49 surveys have been collected and reported in this paper. The result is promising and an indication of the likely success of such an approach.