RESEARCH PAPER ON SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING (SDL)
Benefits of Self-Directed Learning
Emerging Trends and Issues
Impact on Facilitating Adult Learning
RESEARCH PAPER ON SELF-DIRECTED LEARNING
“Self-directed learning is a continuous engagement in acquiring, applying and creating knowledge and skills in the context of an individual learner’s unique problems. Effectively supporting self-directed learning is one of the critical challenges in supporting lifelong learning. Self-directed learning creates new challenging requirements for learning technologies. Domain-oriented design environments address these challenges by allowing learners to engage in their own problems, by providing contextualized support, and by exploiting breakdowns as opportunities for learning. (Fischer and Scharff, 1998: Abstract). Most adults spend a considerable amount of time acquiring information and learning new skills. The rapidity of change, the continuous creation of new knowledge, and an ever-widening access to information make such acquisitions necessary. Much of this learning takes place at the learner's initiative, even if available through formal settings. A common label given to such activity is self-directed learning. In essence, self-directed learning is seen as any study form in which individuals have primary responsibility for planning, implementing, and even evaluating the effort. Most people, when asked, will proclaim a preference for assuming such responsibility whenever possible. Merriam and Caffarella, believe "Learning on one's own, being self-directed in one's learning is itself a context in which learning takes place. The key to placing a learning experience within this context is that the learner has the primary responsibility for planning, carrying out, and evaluating his or her own learning. Participation in self-directed learning seems almost universal--in fact, an estimated 90 percent of the population is involved with at least one self-directed learning activity a year…Adults engaging in self-directed learning do not necessarily follow a definite set of steps or linear format. In essence, self-directed learning occurs both by design and chance--depending on the interests, experiences, and actions of individual learners and the circumstances in which they find themselves…Self-directed learning does not necessarily mean learning in isolation--assistance is often sought from friends, experts, and acquaintances in both the planning and execution of the learning activity." Throughout this research paper, I will discuss the history of self-directed learning (SDL), its research, emerging trends/issues and its impact on facilitating adult learning.
What is self-directed learning?
Self-directed learning is an approach that has also been tried with learners in elementary and secondary schools. There may be slight variations in how different educators define SDL, but a survey of the literature on the subject identifies several tenets that are central to the concept. Several things are known about self-directed learning: (a) individual learners can become empowered to take increasingly more responsibility for various decisions associated with the learning endeavor; (b) self-direction is best viewed as a continuum or characteristic that exists to some degree in every person and learning situation; (c) self-direction does not necessarily mean all learning will take place in isolation from others; (d) self-directed learners appear able to transfer learning, in terms of both knowledge and study skill, from one situation to another; (e) self-directed study can involve various activities and resources, such as self-guided reading, participation in study groups, internships, electronic dialogues, and...
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