Autonomous Learner Model

Erin, Allison, and Clay

Background Information
The ALM was originated by Dr. George Betts and Jolene Kercher
and was actually developed after (and with) input from gifted
students in 1981.
The main purpose of this model is to allow the students input and
control in their learning. It aims to take the “sage on the stage”
approach away and make a classroom into a more constructivist
setting for both teachers and students.
According to, ALM will allow students
will develop responsibility, positive self-esteem, decision-making,
problem solving skills, interpersonal skills, critical and creative
thinking skills, and a passion for areas of learning that pique their

Basic Structure
Teachers and students must travel
clockwise around the pentagon (starting
at orientation) for the ALM to be
This model can be done as a pull-out or
extracurricular model and in high
school this ALM works best as an

Why Does This Model Meet the Needs of Gifted
This model allows students to gain experience taking
ownership of their learning, which gives gifted
students more room to push themselves and grow
through personal interests/research-based classroom
This also helps students embrace their own
giftedness, according to Davis, Rimm, Siegle. Doing so
allows students to “become responsible, creative,
independent learners,” which aligns with the goals of
Gifted programs (Davis 124).

Don’t Believe Us? Here’s a TED Talk!


Allison has used this method with students of different backgrounds, both ethnically
and educationally, and it has been successful across the board. ALM gives students a
chance to own their learning, no matter where they are starting. It also aligns directly
with Fulton County’s initiative to increase the level of personalized learning within our

Now You Try!!
Put yourselves in the shoes of a student about to embark on the ALM journey. In table
groups, discuss:
--What would you like to learn?
--How will this help you develop as a learner?
--Would you learn more about your chosen topic as an individual or within a group?
--Lastly, fill in the analogy: ALM is like a _______________________? Type yo’ answers
in the padlet!