This website uses cookies and similar technologies to understand visitors' experiences. By continuing to use this website, you accept our use of cookies and similar technologies,Terms of Use, and Privacy Policy.

In 1970, the Croatian-Austrian philosopher Ivan Illich—not to be confused with Tolstoy’s famous character, “Ivan Ilyich”—published his now-famous Deschooling Society, a critical exploration of the ways in which the modern education establishment interfaces with the exigencies of modern economies. Rather than places of authentic learning, development, interaction, and academic engagement, in this work Illich conceptualize...
A few weeks, I engaged my colleagues at EdLab on an activity and discussion around self-directed learning. As part of the activity, I made my colleagues write down keywords on a whiteboard that comes to mind when they think of self-directed learning. After several minutes, we delve into what turned out to be an interesting discussion about self-directed learning. Specifically, my colleagues were interested in: how self-directed learning was being taught (or even if that is possible), potential connections between self-directed learning and the Montessori model
One of the questions I struggle with in my research is whether self-directed learning can be taught to learners. The very nature of self-directed learning means learners ultimately drive the process. However, what if a learner cannot or is unaware of their self-directed learning objectives or even how to “self” learn? What, if any, role can educators play in guiding students to become self-directed learners? In Teaching and Learning Hand in Hand, Judi Randi looks at how educators established an environment tha...
I previously wrote about educators turning to social media as part of their professional development goals. According to this survey, educators are increasingly turning to social media and other online resources as part of their professional development. What accounts for this increased interest among educators? First, 78% of surveyed educators noted they are not comfortable wit...
{{unknown}} Motivation is essential to success in everything we do. This is especially true in self-directed learning where an absence of a teacher, peer, or mentor means the learning experience can be a lonely journey. For instance, in my research on the self-directed learning journeys of minority college students, motivation played a key factor. The students decided to pursue and ultimately finish their self-directed learning goals because they were motivated to learn that topic. Self-directed learning can be a long and arduous journey, therefore, making motivation an essential and co...
In one of my previous posts, I looked at the self-directed learning process wheel by Virginia Ricard. For this blog, I am taking a closer look at D.L. Garrison’s (1997) conceptualization of self-directed learning. Garrison argues that most of the literature on self-directed learning focuses on the process and less on the actual learning taking place. As a result, Garrison’s model focuses on the learning process. According to Garrison, self-directed learning is when learners are motivated to a...
Self- directed orientation toward learning is a learning style or "a way of acting or thinking in a learning situation” (Bonham, 1989). Despite of various differences in learners’ preferences, Bonham proposed two major categories for SDL: SD instructional model vs. SD inquiry model. Learners who prefer SD instructional approach tend to think linearly as they plan their learning journey with much details. In contrast, learners who fit better in the SD inquiry approach think of learning as a more holistically process. They can adapt to sporadic learning opportunities and are comfortable to ex...
For many, self-directed learning is for learners who are self-contained and capable of working isolatedly on projects they are passionate about. As learning resources conveniently accessible online, self-directed learners are often viewed as those who autonomously and effectively identify what they need online and absorb the knowledge. However, new communication and information technologies offer not...
Learning how to learn is an essential metacognitive skill for successful self-directed learners. Dr. Barbara Oakley and Dr.Terrence Sejnowski popular MOOC from the perspectives of brain and learning science provides useful resources on this topic. In the beginning session, for instance, Dr. Oakley points out tha...
I recently led a presentation for my colleagues at EdLab, Teachers College in which I put them through a series of exercises on their thoughts and recommendations about the Institute for Self-Directed Learning. There were four groups of five individuals per group. I was interested in gaining a collective working definition of self-directed learning and what an offering (e.g. workshop, certificate, degree program) could potentially look like. Together, we all agreed that in self-directed learning, the learner controls various aspects ...