1Knowles Self-Directed Learning Theory

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SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING Christie M. Candelaria Walden University EDUC 8101-2


LEARNING OBJECTIVES At the conclusion of the presentation, the participants will: Define and discuss the features of self-directed learning Describe the personal traits of a self-directed learner Identify recent applications of SDL

What is self-directed learning (SDL):

What is self-directed learning (SDL) Self-planned learning Self-instruction Self-teaching Self-study Autonomous learning

PowerPoint Presentation:

Students take responsibility for their own learning The individual (learner) is primarily responsible for the planning, implementation, and evaluation of learning Supports students’ freedom in the pursuit of their learning


THEORIST Malcolm Knowles (1975) Father of Andragogy – the art and science of helping adults learn Learners become increasingly self-directed as they mature. Self-directed learners are motivated by various internal incentives such as Need for self-esteem Curiosity Desire to achieve Satisfaction of accomplishment

Knowles’ definition of SDL:

Knowles’ definition of SDL A process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.

SIX MAJOR STEPS OF SDL (Knowles, 1975):

SIX MAJOR STEPS OF SDL (Knowles, 1975) Climate setting Diagnosing learning needs Formulating learning goals Identifying human and material resources for learning Choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies Evaluating learning outcomes


GOALS OF SDL To enhance the ability of adults to be self- directed in their learning Educators help adult learners to plan, carry out, and evaluate the learner’s own learning Grounded on humanistic philosophy: personal growth is the goal of adult learning personal autonomy and free will to make choices

Goals of SDL (Con’t):

Goals of SDL (Con’t) To foster transformational learning as central to SDL “The most complete form of self-directed learning occurs when PROCESS and REFLECTION are married in the adult’s pursuit of meaning.” Process – techniques of SDL Reflection - internal change in consciousness Brookfield (1986, as cited in Merriam, et al., 2007, p. 108)

Goals of SDL (Con’t):

Goals of SDL (Con’t) To promote emancipatory learning and social action as an integral part of SDL - incorporation of collective action as an outcome - the outcome of SDL should be for the greater good


SDL AS A PERSONAL ATTRIBUTE Characteristics or traits of a self-directed learner Makes use of independent learning opportunities Shows intrinsic motivation and interest in learning

Characteristics or traits of a SDL :

Characteristics or traits of a SDL Have a positive self-esteem and self-confidence regarding learning Recognizes that learning is a process that is ongoing and lifelong Takes responsibility for one’s learning rather than expecting the teachers to do it for them

Teaching the Self-directed learner:

Teaching the Self-directed learner How can an educational institution modify its teaching in order to support learners to exercise their autonomy? Provide a physical climate showing that the learner is accepted, respected, and supported. Involve the learner in planning a personal program



PowerPoint Presentation:

Guide Coordinator Facilitator Tutor


ASSESSING SDL OCLI – Oddi Continuing Learning Inventory Developed by a nurse educator; related to continuing professional education (CPE) Some variables measured: self-efficacy, self-concept, personal responsibility, GPA SDLRS – Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale To assess the degree to which individuals perceive themselves to possess attitudes and skills often associated with readiness


RECENT APPLICATIONS OF SDL Lifelong learning Cognitive apprenticeships Professions requiring their members to continue learning to maintain licensure

Recent applications of SDL (Con’t):

Recent applications of SDL (Con’t) Human resource development Trainees master packages of predetermined material, at their own pace, without the aid of an instructor

Recent applications of SDL (Con’t):

Recent applications of SDL (Con’t) Online learning Younger generation of students and their relationship with the web

Recent applications of SDL (Con’t):

Recent applications of SDL (Con’t) Problem-based learning (PBL) Originated in medical education in the mid-1960s Collaborative work Problem-solving skills Guidance by tutor or coach PBL fosters the development of SDL Problem-based learners are self-directed learners (Blumberg, 2000 as cited in Loyens, et al.,2008)


THE FUTURE OF SDL After this brief orientation to SDL, what do you think should the focus of future research be OR What is the future of SDL

Questions to ponder on . . .:

Questions to ponder on . . . What are the cultural issues associated with SDL? What are the ethical issues associated with encouraging SDL among learners who may be uninterested, unwilling, or unable to engage in SDL?


References Knowles, M. (1978). Andragogy: Adult learning theory in perspective. Community College Review. Retrieved from http://crw.sagepub.com/content/5/3/9.citation Loyens, S.M., Magda, J., & Rikers, R.M. (2008). Self-directed learning in problem-based learning and its relationships with self-regulated learning. Educational Psychology Review, 20, 411-427. doi: 10.1007/s10648-008-9082-7 Merriam, S.B., Cafarella, R.S., & Baumgartner, L.M. (2007). Learning in adulthood: A comprehensive guide. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass Self-Directed Learning. (2006). Retrieved from http://www.adulteducation.wikibook.us/index.php?title=Self-Directed Learning Smith, M.K. (2002). Malcolm Knowles, informal adult education, self-direction and andragogy. Retrieved from www.infed.org/thinkers/et-knowl.htm

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