PIDP 3250 The Self-Directed Learner

“In its broadest meaning, ’self-directed learning’ describes a process by which individuals take the initiative, with our without the assistance of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, choosing and implement appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.” (Knowles, 1975, p. 18)
I have learnt that self-directed learning will undoubtedly be at the core of any sort of future learning. Self-directed learning (SDL) is not a new concept. SDL views learners as responsible owners and managers of their own learning process. In SDL, control gradually shifts from teachers to learners. Learners exercise a great deal of independence in setting learning goals and deciding what is worthwhile learning as well as how to approach the learning task within a given framework . Self-directed learning can be challenging, even for the brightest and most motivated students. The key concept learnt from the forum is that self-directed learning is a collaborative process, the student must have the initiative to learn the material and the teacher must provide support and resources for learning. We need to model learning strategies such as predicting, questioning, clarifying, and summarizing, so that students will develop the ability to use these strategies on their own. Teachers also need to allow individual learners to approach a task in different ways using different strategies. The students should never feel as if they are learning on their own. As educators we should teach students a variety of learning strategies and ensure they can properly use them. We should teach students the value of revision and critical appraisal in their work and encourage independence and a positive attitude toward learning. I believe that we should all strive to be independent learners. It is important to want to learn; to be intrinsically motivated and desire learning for the sake of learning. In an ever changing world and a constantly evolving workplace it is necessary to immerse ourselves in continuing education. In his article “Teaching learners to be self-directed,” Gerald Grow notes that “Self-directed learning remains the North star of adult education” and that “the teacher’s purpose is to match the learner’s stage of self-direction and prepare the learner to advance to higher stages.” The benefit of SDL is that the students demonstrate a greater awareness of their responsibility in making learning meaningful and monitoring themselves. The students are motivated, persistent, independent, self-disciplined, self-confident and goal-oriented. Self-directed learning allows learners to be more effective learners. As Educators we should make students aware of their role in their own learning and encourage each student to take initiative in their learning.

Reference: Grow, G., (1991). Teaching learners to be self-directed. Adult Education Quarterly. Volume 41, Number 3. Pages 125-149.


This video about how a young boy who moved from a non interested learner to a self-directed and motivated learner really resonated with me.


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