Why Self-Directed Learning Is Important For Undergraduate Students

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Using evidence from the literature; critically discuss why self-directed learning is important for undergraduate students Self-directed learning (SDL) is defined as any form of studying whereby individuals take the primary responsibility and initiative to plan, implement and evaluate their own work. However, SDL does not necessarily mean that all learning takes place in isolation from others; it can consist of participation in study groups, internships, and self-guided reading. This essay will give an overview of why self-directed learning is important, in particular for the success of undergraduate students by helping them become more independent learners. SDL has existed from classical antiquity (400 BC) and has therefore been an important aspect of the lives of Greek philosophers such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. However, it was not until around 150 years ago that scholarly efforts took place in order to understand SDL. One of the first documented efforts concerning SDL was by Craik (1840) who celebrated self-education efforts of several people. In addition, the book Self-Help was published by Smiles (1859) applauding the value of personal development. Nevertheless, it did not become a major research area until the last three decades. Observations by Houle (1961) (University of Chicago, Illinois) introduced the concept of SDL; whereby he interviewed 22 adult learners and categorised them into three groups based upon the reasoning for participation in learning

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