Self-directed learning

About this essay

The concept of Self-Directed learning (SDL) has captured the interest of adult educator who interested in learning in adulthood and processes of SDL continues growing as evidenced by the expanded number of thoughtful and insightful publications within the last few year (Caffarella, 2003; Abdullah, 2001). Hiemstra (1994). Many public educational institutions have used this concept to describe one of the primary goals of their institutions: to enable their students to be life long, self directed learners.

Gibbons stated that “SDL is any increase in knowledge, skill, accomplishment, or personal development that an individual selects and brings about by his or her own efforts using any method in any circumstances at any time” (Gibbons, 2002, p.

2).In self-directed learning (SDL), the individual takes the initiative and the responsibility for what occurs. Individuals select, manage, and assess their own learning activities, which can be pursued at any time, in any place, through any means, at any age. In school, teachers can work toward SDL a stage at a time.

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Teaching emphasizes SDL skills, processes, and systems rather than content coverage and tests. For the individual, SDL involves initiating personal challenge activities and developing the personal qualities to pursue them successfully. This website is devoted to illuminating these principals as they apply to schooling and to life.

SDL also has described about several things are known about Self-Directed learners as the following: (1) learners could be empowered, take more responsibility for decision associated with the learning endeavor; (2) SDL is best viewed as continuum or characteristic exists to some degree in every learners and learning situation; (3) learners can take place in isolation from others but not necessary; (4) learners able to transfer learning in term of knowledge and study skill, from one situation to another; (5) learners can involve various activities and resources; (6) effective roles for teachers in SDL are possible; (7) some educational institute support SDL by using open-learning program, individualized study options, non-traditional course offering, and other innovative program.

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So, we can conclude that self-directed learning is one of the most researched topics in adult learning. Although learning on one’s own has been the principal model of learning throughout the ages, serious studies of this topics did not become prevalent until the 1970 and 1980s. Presently SDL views learners as responsible owners and managers of their own learning process and integrates self-management with self-monitoring. SDL also recognizes the significant role of motivation and volition in initiating and maintaining learners’ effort, control shifts from teachers to learners. Teachers and instructors scaffold learning by making learning visible. SDL develops domain-specific knowledge as well as the ability to transfer conceptual knowledge to new situations

2. Can or should all learning be self-directed, why or why not?

Many scholar say’s it does not matter if there is a sage on the stage, a professor at the podium, or a tutor at the table: all learning is self-directed. Too often when there is a designate teacher or trainer, we absolve the responsibility we have for making sure we actually learn something. That simply is not sustainable. If we truly want to consider ourselves lifelong learners, we must become more responsible for our own learning, more adept at designing and directing the learning experiences we most need, and more aware of how we engage in the learning opportunities life offers us each and every moment. Self directing learning is a process of learning, in which people take the primary initiative for planning carrying out and evaluating their own learning experience. So, all learners should not be self directed.

Tough (1967, 1971), building on the work of Houle (1961/1988) and others, provided the first comprehensive description of self-directed learning as a form of study that he termed self-planned learning. Knowles proposed that one of the hallmark assumptions of adult learning is that learners become increasingly self-directed as they mature. According to Knowles a Self Directing Learning would just need the physical climate to assure the learner is comfortable and respected. The learner should be involved in planning a personal program and then a tutor will help in the process of evaluation. This is not always good because we all do not have the analytical know how to self evaluate, take control and act on what is natural.

As learners of high self direction who are willing to and able to plan, execute, and evaluate his own learning with or without help of an expert teacher or instructor. In the age of developed information and technology world, learners, have become more self directed than before. For an example, even classroom teacher assign a work to the students, whether school, college or university, students search in the website and try to find the right answer. Not only have that now students are all level are spend more time depended on the internet than their classroom learning. According to Malcolm Knowles (1968, p.3510 a new label and a new technology of adult learning to distinguish it from pre-adult schooling.

3. Within the self-directed learning process, discuss the three types of models: linear, interactive, and instructional.

Self-directed learning as a process of learning, in which people take the primary initiative for planning, carrying out, and evaluating their own learning experience, has received a great deal of attention in their literature. Learning can take place both inside and outside institutionally based learning program. For the most part, however, being self-directed in one’s learning is a natural part of adult life.

Within the self-directed learning process, the three types of model are linear, interactive, and instructional. These models represent a mixture of conceptual, empirical, and experimentally derived views of the process of self-directed learning. The linear model often reflect more traditional ways of thinking about learning. The linear is the early model of self directed learning, those proposed by Tough (1971) and Knowles (1975) Learners moved through a series of steps to reach their learning goals in a self-directed manner. The interactive models more closely resemble how learner go about learning primarily on their own. There are three such model in the interactive model, i.e.

Spear’s Model, Brockett and Hiemstra’s Model, and Garrison;s Model. The third category of self-directed learning models represents frameworks that instructors in formal settings. Instructional models are specially designed to be used as ways to organize instruction in formal and informal settings. Two models are highlighted that were designed with formal settings in mind: those of Grow (1991) and Hammond and Collins (1991). This model consist of four distinct stage of learner; dependant learner, interested learner, involved learner, and self-directed learner.

What makes their model different from Knowles’s and other process model is the purposeful inclusion of critical perspective through the examination of the social, political and environmental context that affect their learning, and stress on developing both personal and social learning goals. Although greater control of the learning process is what Hammond and Collins see as the immediate goal for learner using their model of critical self-directing learning, their ultimate goal is to empower learners to use their learning to improve the conditions under which they and those around them live and work.

4. How can adult learners be supported as participants to self-directed learning; by family members, employers, friends, instructors?

The support and needs of adult learners differ in many ways from those of young learners. Adults are used to making decisions on their own, have a wealth of life experiences and many responsibilities, and typically want to apply what they learn to their present lives. Sometimes, though, learners may fear school, may sometimes feel insecure about using new skills on their own, may have special physical needs, may have problems meeting basic needs because of unemployment or poverty, and may be ashamed about being unable to read and write.

There are many way adult learners can be supported as participants to self directed learning through family members, employers, friends, and instructors. Family members and spouse contribute a lot to learner success in self directing learning. Family may spare lot of time by take care of children’s, taking extra responsibilities and sacrifice personal entertainment. Family members also support financially to buy study materials and computer, printer, internet and other equipments.

Employers can help the adult learners by flexible work schedule, tuitions reimbursement program, perhaps providing educational grants to the student for continuing their academic endeavors. Friends and well wishers may help by encouragement about career development, healthy life style Instructors can help support the student by explaining detailed course works, allowing more time for submitting assignment, continuous interaction with students and most importantly by keeping in mind that every student learns differently and may require different sets of academic structuring. In order to cater to adults’ cognitive learning needs, instructor need to plan to actively involve participants in the adult learning process and serve as facilitators for them.

5. Malcolm Knowles describes four assumptions of Andragogy. Discuss those four assumptions and the implications for the design, implementation, and evaluation of learning activities with adults.

Nearly forty years ago, Malcolm Knowles (1968, p.3510 proposed a new label and a new technology of adult learning to distinguish it from pre-adult schooling. Malcolm Knowles has brought considerable attention to the adult education field as a separate field during the past three decades. The concept of andragogy, meaning the art and science of helping adults learn, was constructed with pedagogy, the art and science of helping children learn. The concept of andragogy, meaning the art and science of helping adults learn, was constructed with pedagogy, the art and science of helping children learn.

Andragogy is based on a number of assumption about adult learner: Knowles originally advanced the four assumption. 1. As a person matures, his or her self-concept moves from that of a dependent personality toward one of a self-directing human being. 2. an adult accumulate a growing reservoir of experience, which is a rich resources of learning. 3. the readiness of an adult to learn is closely related to the developmental tasks of his or her social role. 4. there is a change in time perspective as people mature from future application of knowledge of immediacy of application. Thus an adult is more problem centered than subject centered in learning.

Knowles clearly saw these assumptions as foundational to designing programs for adults. From each of these assumptions, Knowles drew numerous implications for the design, implementation, and evaluation of learning activities with adults. For example, with regard to the first assumption that as adults mature they become more independent and self-directing, Knowles suggested that the classroom climate should be one of “adultness,” both physically and psychologically. The climate should cause “adults to feel accepted, respected, and supported”; further, there should exist “a spirit of mutuality between teachers and students as joint inquirers” (1980, p. 47). Being self-directing also means that adult students can participate in the diagnosis of their learning needs, the planning and implementation of the learning experiences, and the evaluation of those experiences. (Merriam, p. 85)

Merriam, S.B., Baumgartner, L.M, & Caffarella, R.S. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.) San Francisco: Wiley. Self-directed learning:

Literacy online, Supporting adult learner

The Adult Learning Process
By Rebecca Friedman on January 23, 2012

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Self-directed learning. (2016, Dec 22). Retrieved from

Self-directed learning
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