ERIC Number: ED426218
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Sep
Mid-Career Adults in Self-Directed and Teacher-Directed Learning.
Beitler, Michael A.
The question of what determines the appropriate use of self-directed learning (SDL) as opposed to teacher-directed learning (TDL) for midcareer professionals was examined through a review of the literature on SDL, SDL in professional development, and through interviews with 12 midcareer adults in a wide variety of professions. In general, the professionals interviewed had a "lukewarm" attitude toward SDL. Many participants expressed equal satisfaction with SDL and TDL. When asked about particular SDL and TDL experiences, interviewees focused on the appropriateness of the method for the particular course. Where a clearly defined body of knowledge had to be mastered (for example, in accounting), the professionals clearly preferred a teacher-directed classroom. Special attention was paid to the comments of an individual responsible for training at a large federal government agency, who expressed the view that technical skills and conceptual skills are the employer's responsibility, whereas "people skills" should be learned by employees before they are hired. It was concluded that the appropriate use of TDL and SDL is determined by several factors and that adult educators must consider the following before designing TDL or SDL programs: the learner's psychological makeup, knowledge level, and experience; learner motivation; and course content. (MN)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Adult Learning, Adult Students, Career Development, Comparative Analysis, Conventional Instruction, Educational Attitudes, Educational Strategies, Independent Study, Learning Processes, Management Development, Professional Development, Professional Occupations, Student Attitudes, Teaching Methods
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the World Conference on Self-Directed Learning (Montreal, Quebec, Canada, September 14-17, 1997). For a related document, see ED 415 361.