Chapter 5

Self-Directed Learning (SDL)

To become life-long and self-directed learners is at the heart of every modern day educational institution in America. It all started in 1971 with the recent works on adult learning. Many public schools and higher education have adopted this standard. However, in adults learning has become so invisible because of its informal nature.  Here is an example of a website dedicated only to self-directed learning.

www.selfdirectedlearning.com

  1. Tough (1967,1971) – Provided the first description of self-directed learning as a form of study that he termed “self-planned learning
  2. Adults do deliberately learn with goals of their own (autonomy)
  3. For the learning process to be deliberate there must be prior goals established
  4. To enhance the ability of adult learners to be self-directed in their learning
  5. To foster transformational learning as central to self-directed learning
  6. To promote emancipatory learning and social action as an integral part of self-directed learning

Goals of Self-Directed Learning

  1. To enhance the ability of adult learners to be self-directed in their learning
  2. To foster transformational learning as central to self-directed learning
  3. To promote emancipatory learning and social action as an integral part of self-directed learning

Self-Directed Learning as a Process

Linear Models –This is the classification on how the earlier models were displayed. Tough (1971) &  Knowles (1975) were linear because they moved through a series of steps to reach their learning goals in a self-directed manner.

Interactive Models – This classification is not planned or linear in nature. This process involves factors or variables which collectively interact to form episodes of self-directed learning. These variables can be: opportunities, environment, personality, critical thinking or cognitive processes, the context being studied. There are three different types of models seen on p. 112:

  • Spear (1988)
  • Brockett & Hiemstra (1991)
  • Garisson (1997)

Instructional Models – These models are contained in frameworks that instructors use in formal settings to integrate self-directed learning into their programs/lessons, p117. These are divided into stages:

  • STAGE 1 – Dependent Learner
  • STAGE 2 – Interested Learner
  • STAGE 3 – Involved Learner
  • STAGE 4 – Self-Directed Learner

This type of learning process is pivotal in a Christian’s lives when studying the Word of God. Notice that it encompasses the very process of discipleship and learning development within the body of Christ.

So how do you guide them through this process? Motivation, teach them how they learn, engagement in the learning process and then allow them to critically think/reflect what they have learned through the activity. Activities can be Q & A sessions, scenarios, puzzles, games, debates or simple groups. Then, this allows them to become more involved and ultimately self-directed towards prior goals that have been established for them to follow with the help of the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. These goals are molded to the vision of the specific body they belong to.

Check out these funny but “makes sense” videos. Change the word “college” to “Bible college” when the teacher talks about the importance to knowing why they are there in Part 1 & 2:

Part 1 – Priming Students for Self-Directed Learning

Part 2 –Priming Students for Self-Directed Learning 

EXTRA, EXTRA, things don’t always work as planned – Self Directed learning

self-directed-learning-stages

Self-Direction as a Personal Attribute of Learners

Learning in adulthood becomes more self-directed and autonomous. There is no formula or method to fully analyze the art of self-learning but we can try to further research and understand the characteristics or attributes that are involved in the process.

Assessing self-directedness

  1. OCLI – The Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory
  2. SDLRS – Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale

Autonomy and self-directedness: Innate or Situational?

Four variables have the most influence on whether individual adult learners exhibit autonomous behavior in learning situations:

  • Technical skills related to their learning process
  • Their familiarity with the subject matter
  • Their sense of personal competence
  • Their commitment to their learning
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