ERIC Number: ED365818
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1994
Self-Directed Learning. Myths and Realities.
In addition to the cult mystique that the notion of self-directed learning (SDL) has attained, controversy has arisen over its definition, its proper environment, and other issues. Consequently, a number of issues have arisen. The first is that adults are naturally self-directed. The reality is that adults' reactions to and capability for SDL vary widely. SDL may be a lifelong phenomenon in which adults differ from other adults and from children in degree: some people are or are not self-directed learners; some people are or are not in different situations. The second myth is that self-direction is an all-or-nothing concept. Again, instead of the extremes of learner- versus other-direction, it is apparent a continuum exists. Adults have varying degrees of willingness or ability to assume personal responsibility for learning. Elements of the continuum may include the degree of choice over goals, objectives, type of participation, content, method, and assessment. The third myth is that self-directed learning means learning in isolation. The essential dimension of SDL may be psychological control, which a learner can exert in solitary, informal, or traditional settings. In other words, solitude is not a necessary condition. Educators seeking to develop the capacity for self-direction in learners will need to consider a number of dimensions: an expanded definition of SDL, SDL as characterized by factors along a continuum, and SDL as involving an internal change in consciousness. (Contains 14 references.) (YLB)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.