TeachThought.com has a series of posts about self-directed learning by Terry Heick and the staff, well worth a read!
“Learning is most effective when it’s personalised; it means something to the learner. That happens when people feel they are participants and investors in their own learning, shaping what and how they learn, and able to articulate its value to them.” — Leadbeater, Charles
The students in the Independent Project are remarkable but not because they are exceptionally motivated or unusually talented. They are remarkable because they demonstrate the kinds of learning and personal growth that are possible when teenagers feel ownership of their high school experience, when they learn things that matter to them and when they learn together. In such a setting, school capitalizes on rather than thwarts the intensity and engagement that teenagers usually reserve for sports, protest or friendship.
We have tried making the school day longer and blanketing students with standardized tests. But perhaps children don’t need another reform imposed on them. Instead, they need to be the authors of their own education.
The long-term output of any school should be not just proficient students, but enabled learners. An “enabled” learner can grasp macro views, uncover micro details, ask questions, plan for new knowledge and transfer thinking across divergent circumstances. This doesn’t happen by content “knowledge holding,” or even by the fire of enthusiasm, but by setting a tone for learning that suggests possibility, and by creating a culture of can.
First, it’s important to realize that a “culture” is comprised of tangible factors (students) and intangible factors (curiosity). It is also ever-present — it exists whether or not we as educators acknowledge it. It precedes formal learning and will last long after that formal learning experience has passed.
If a learner is develop a sense of can, he or she must learn it.
While some students have more natural confidence or initiative than others, can is slightly different than confidence. Can is a mix of knowledge and self-efficacy that has been nurtured through experience — by consistently meeting both internally and externally created goals judged by standards that are also both internally and externally drawn.
What It Is: The process of teaching one’s self, or “Self-directing” through the learning process
Why Do It: Engagement, self-pacing, and free
What You Need: Hardcopy, digital (e.g., learnist), accessibility, content control, location free (mobile learning)
Tips & Tricks: Self-assessment, momentum, planning, variety, projects
Problems & Challenges: Procrastination, laziness, misguidance, lack of motivation, time management
Famous Self-Taughts (Autodidacts): Leonardo Da Vinci, William Blake, Herb Rits (in addition to Virginia Woolf, Mark Twain, John D. Rockefeller, and many others)
Why It’s Especially Relevant In 2013: Modern access to information and formal (e.g., MOOCs and free eLearning sources) and informal (video games and simulations) learning platforms make self-directed learning more accessible–and powerful–than ever before
- Challenge something
- Make an observation
- Draw a conclusion
- Question something
- Revise a question based on observation & data
- Critique something
- Observe something
- Revise something
- Transfer a lesson or philosophical stance from one situation to another
- Improve a design
- Identify a cause and effect
- Compare and contrast two or more things
- Test the validity of a model
- Separate causes from symptoms
- Identify the primary and secondary causes of a problem
- Adapt something for something new
- Make a prediction and observe what occurs
- Narrate a sequence
- Study and visually demonstrate nuance
- Identify and explain a pattern
- Study the relationship between text and subtext
- Elegantly emphasize nuance
- Critically evaluate a socially-accepted idea
- Extract a lesson from nature
- Take & defend a position
- Record notes during and after observation of something
- Form a theory & revise it based on observation and/or data
- If students designed their own schools: An Inspirational Video (21k12blog.net)
- School in the Cloud and Self-Organized Learning Environment (classroom-aid.com)