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The Self Directed Learning Theory

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Self-Directed Learning Theory
1. Self-directed learning can be defined as either the process of learning or the personal characteristics of the learner. Either way, it is apparent that this is the goal of adult education institutions and can be seen in both their courses and their missions to create life long learners. Malcolm Knowles in his studies and writings on andragogy defined self-directed learning or SDL learning as “the 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 those learning outcomes (Merriam
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SDL can also be thought of as a personal attribute in which the learner has a predisposition toward this method of learning. Knowles wrote that efficacy and age were both important factors in SDL. As a person ages, they become more responsible for their learning and the more confident they will be in their ability to learn. The ultimate goal of all teaching, whether adult of child, is to enhance the cognitive and emotional capacities to develop self-directed learning (Costa & Garmston, 2002). These positive SDL characteristics are also tied to motivation and experience.
For adult learning to be effective, motivation must exist in the learner to participate in the learning process. In SDL the motivation is always the catalyst that initiates the process. Learning organizations are now coming on board and realizing that their expectations must change from the traditional learning to requiring adults to be fully able to operate from complex cognitive structures. Adult learners must be self-directed if not the adult education has failed (Arredondo & Rucinski, 1998).
2. In my own experiences I have witnessed that if the context and motivations are right then self-directed learning will almost certainly occur. In my own experiences, I see SDL as an attribute that is present in educators that have been effective over long careers. They
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