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Alisha Myles Ball State University EDAC 634


Self-directed Learning?


What is Self-Directed Learning?

Knowles defines self-directed learning as the process in which an individual takes the initiative, with or without the help of others, in identifying their learning needs, creating learning objectives, finding human and material resources for learning, picking and applying appropriate learning strategies and evaluating learning outcomes, or in short they take responsibility, for, and control of, their own learning. Tough defined a learning project as an effort to obtain and retain a certain knowledge or skill, normally in thirteen steps, in learning sessions that lasted at least seven hours total. Tough used the term selfdirected learning and selfplanned learning interchangeably.

More on Self-Directed Learning

While deliberate efforts to learn happen all around us we are often times not aware of the self-directed learning surrounding us. Reflective learning gradually develops an autonomous work attitude. Problem based learning is the most significant innovation in education for professions in many years. Many medical school use problem-based learning.

The Purpose of Self-Directed Learning

Encourage the ability of adults to be selfdirected in their learning. Promote transformational learning as central to self-directed learning. Promote liberation learning & social action.

Models of Self-Directed Learning

Linear- Self-directed learning takes place in the form of steps. Linear models are organized. Interactive- this model focuses on the opportunities people find to learn in their lives, their personality features and the context of learning. This model is not well organized or linear. Instructional this model presents structures that teachers in formal environments can use to promote self-directed learning into their programs.

Program Investigation
McMaster University

Freshman and Sophomore Chemical Engineering students Ontario, Canada Problem-based learning Features -Reflective journaling -Group work -Start with a problem -Gradual introduction of self-directed learning skills

Program Investigation Continued

Palm Beach State College Undergraduate students in Honor English courses Florida, U.S. Narrative, embodied and imaginative learning Features -Reflective journaling -Group work to rewrite classis literature -Presentations for peer learning

Self-Directed Learning?

Learning English through Great American Novels

Purpose: To strengthen the writing, speaking and reading skills of learners whose second language is English. To help students enjoy reading and writing, improve their ability to reflect critically on what they have read and to promote self-directed learning. Learners: Undergraduate international students who are juniors or seniors. Link to my full class design and class schedule: Full Course Design and Rationale

My Course Encourages Self-Directed Learning by:

Reflective journaling with no feedback Peer learning through class presentations and peer grading Self-directed skills presented and discussed in class Homework assignments such as time scheduling and goal setting worksheets Students will lay out how they will stay organized throughout the semester

Novels Read and Discussed in Class

The Awakening by Kate Chopin The Great Gatsby by Scott Fitzgerald Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Program Evaluation 1
Program Design Review for Alisha Myles Learning English Through Great American Novels
Kitty Campbell, PhD Visiting Scholar, Purdue University College of Technology When reviewing Ms. Myles proposed course, I appreciated her desire to give students a rich experience through self-directed learning. This type of format works well with highly motivated students as they delve deeper into their major areas of focus. It is especially effective with a smaller seminar class format that is conducive to discussion in a more intimate setting. This course design is most appropriate for higher level undergraduate or graduate students. Having weekly quizzes and encouraging participation in discussion will also hold students accountable for reading the material and being prepared for class. After evaluating the proposal, I found several areas for consideration and potential improvement. I have detailed these recommendations below. -There is reference to the course syllabus, but it is not included in the paper. The syllabus would typically address some items that were missing in the course design such as: course learning objectives and intended outcomes, attendance and participation expectations, class policies, grading rubrics, weighting of assignments towards the final grade, overall evaluation, etc -Turning around journal assignment from Friday to Monday is admirable; however, depending on the instructors course load and the number of students enrolled in the class, this process might not be practical. A consideration for submitting journal entries electronically by means of an online tool such as Blackboard might also be advisable. -Presentation of the course schedule might be more easily readable in graphic representation such as a table format -It was unclear why two novels: The Fountainhead & On the Road were given a disproportionate amount of attention in the course. In the beginning of the course there was approximately one novel a week, but the last two books had multiple weeks of study. A more even timeline might be better unless there is an important pedagogical reason for highlighting these two works.


Overall, the program design is well thought out. Mainly pragmatic logistics of course delivery and classroom management need to be considered. These aspects become easier to anticipate and manage through experience in teaching.

Program Evaluation 2
Course Design Review By: Andrew Muffett For: Alisha Myles

Position and role: Position: Director, Renaissance Instructional Center & Northwest Community Outreach Role: Oversees schedule development/growth; site management; leadership; faculty, staff and community relations; and many other endeavors.
What do they like most about the course design Alishas course design is exciting to read; especially knowing that this is likely her first effort at doing so. I was impres sed with her attention to detail and critical thinking skills as I read through the document. The things that I liked that stood out the most to me were: the timeframe for the course, the use of journals, and her reasoning for quizzes. In other words, research shows that setting the class up for three fifty-minute classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday likely gives the students a greater opportunity to stay focused and learn. Further, I agree with her plan to utilize journals. I would like to believe this plan will stimulate an advanced understanding of English if used correctly. And lastly, I think Alisha makes a great critical argument for using quizzes, given that her objective is helping the students understand what they should have gained from the readings and keep track of attendance. To me, the quizzes give the students a direct way to reflect on the learning without fear of negative grade impact. What do they think should be improved? Why? And how? It is my opinion that Alisha developed a great first-run course design. However, there are a few areas that I feel could be reevaluated, such as: office hours and the library trip. The first thing that stood out to me was her office hours, which she called generous. I wondered if she understood how much time she would actually have for office hours with in my mind, a hypothetical full teaching load. With a full load on her plate, I find it unlikely that she will have a tremendous amount of time to spend with this one class. Additionally, I wondered if generous office hours fits within the spirit of self-directed learning. If giving quite a bit of your time to students in this plan is warranted, that is great, if not, I worry about its usefulness in the grand scheme of self-directed learning. The library trip, to me, seems a bit sophomoric, as this is something I envision an introductory class doing. My assumption was that this is an advanced learning class with a self-directed mindset, so I worry that the library trip will either be seen as coddling by the class or irrelevant. How could this be improved? To me, Alisha did a wonderful job. My impression is that she may want to take a moment to reevaluate the usefulness of some of her most generous attempts at teaching. I am not sure that there is a right or wrong answer here, but from my point of view there are just a few things to think critically about before the course is developed.

Improvements to my Program Design made due to the Program Evaluation assignment

Based off of the evaluators suggestions I will Include attendance and participation expectations as well as a grading rubric and weight of assignments towards the final grade in the program design. Allow students to submit their journals by handwritten paper or electrically. Present the class schedule in an easily readable table format. Cut out the library trip in the class schedule. Stick to the universities office hour policy and not my previously stated generous ones. I will now guide students to the universities writing lab.

In Summary
Self-directed learning is a life-long activity we have all participated in, perhaps are even participating in right now, and will continue to participate in throughout our lives. I hope my project will contribute to adult education practice by encouraging scholars in the self-directed field to design programs to help internationals in the United States continue to improve their English writing, speaking and reading skills.

Fun Self-Directed Learning Projects

<<<<<Learning how to take care of this adorable puppy

Learning how to interior decorate a new home >>>>>>

<<<<<Learning how to scuba dive Learning how to make beautiful floral arrangements >>>>>

What other fun self-directed learning projects can you think of?!

Towle,A, & Cottrell, D. (1996). Self directed learning. Archivies of Disease in Childhood. 74,357-359 Woods, D. (1998). the MPS program: the McMaster Problem Solving program. Retrieved from McDonald, N., & McLaughlin, I. (2010). Fostering Self-Directed Learning in an Honors Classroom Through Unconventional Methods and Assessment. International Journal of Self-Directed Learning. 7(2). Retrieved from Brujium,E, & Leeman, Y.(2001). Authentic and Self-Directed learning in vocational education: Challenges to vocational educators. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(4), 694-702 Academic Ranking of World Universities. (2013). McMaster University. Retrieved from University.html Lanither,J. (2011, September 11). Newsweek names U of T one of the top three schools outside U.S. Retrieved from Shin,J.,Haynes,B., & Johnston,M.(1993, March 15). Effect of problem-based, selfdirected undergraduate education on life-long learning. Candian Medical Association Journal. 148(6), 969-76. Retrieved from Merriam, S., Caffarella, R., & Baumgartner, L. (2007), Learning in Adulthood: A Comprehensive Guide, (pp 105-129) Jossey-Bass Publishing, San Francisco, CA. Mezirow, J. (1997) Transformative Learning: Theory to Practice. Retrieved September 22, 2013 from content/uploads/2012/10/Transformative-Learning-Mezirow-1997.pdf. Thompson, J. (2000) Emancipatory Learning. Retrieved September 22, 2013 from