Exercise 1: Have you ever been curious about self-directed learning?

Most graduate students and working professionals have come across the term self directed learning. It seems to be a buzz word used at the workplace and in professional associations and throughout many sectors of education and business. It has become even more popular as we speak as on-line learning is now shaping higher education. In this short exercise, we briefly identify some of the key highlights behind this term and then ask you to apply them to a small change project.

Did you know that:

  • Self-directed learning involves planning, organizing, controlling and assessing your individual learning in a process initially described by Allen Tough as “self-teaching’
  • Self-directed learning is not necessarily a solitary exercise. You may elect to consult with peers, experts, or instructors during the quest. You may even enrol in a class
  • Self-directed learning is both a process of instruction as well an attribute of the learners
  • Self-directed learning can be integrated into highly structured, formal, controlled environments through activities and assignments
  • In formal settings, self-directed learning requires active involvement of the instructor to guide the learner in identifying goals and strategies and in assessing their own learning.
  • Learners exhibit various degrees of self-directedness along a continuum from high dependency on the instructor to independent self-directed learning that may rely on the instructor as a consultant, guide or mentor.

Consider embarking on a small individual change project that may be an extension of one of your goals in the Virtual Office for Mentoring and Coaching. Select a personal change that you think is important to achieve over the next few weeks. The change can be work related or personal, such as improving your listening skills or eating more healthfully. It should be something you have energy to devote some time to changing.

Now identify:

  • The change goal
  • Why is it important for you
  • Specific strategies you will use to achieve your goal
  • How you will appraise and measure your progress

Track your progress weekly in your journal and adjust accordingly. Have fun! You have just done self-directed learning.