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Self-Directed Learning

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Saved by Debra Lee
on June 27, 2009 at 2:16:31 pm

Self-Directed Learning


One of my interests is the use of video for learning and teaching. I almost always take a look at YouTube to see if there are any videos on topics I am researching. I was pleasantly surprised to find a video on self-directed learning by Susan Wagner, a fellow student at the University of Tennessee. Enjoy her journey as she learns to play the dulcimer.


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The PRO Model of self-directed learning


 Hiemstra and Brockett PRO Model

from Roger Hiemstra's home page




Research on self-directed learning is dwindling. However, that doesn't mean that self-directed learning has lost its place as a foundational theory in adult learning (Brockett, 2000). What that does mean is that further research is needed to ensure that self-directed learning is clearly understood and utilized when teaching adults, either in the workplace or as non-traditional students in a university/college setting. Merriam and Caffarella (1999) point out seven areas of research still needed to fully understand self-directed learning (as cited in Merriam, 2001b).


  1. "How some adults remain self-directed in their learning over long periods of time
  2. How the process changes as learners move from novice to expert in subject matter and learning strategies
  3. How issues of power and control interact with the use of SDL in formal settings
  4. Whether being self-directed as a learner has an impact on one's instructional and planning activities
  5. What is the role of public policy in SDL
  6. What the critical practice of SDL looks like in practice
  7. How contextual factors interact with the personal characteristics of self-directed learners"



Brockett, R. G., Stockdale, S. L., Fogerson, D. L., Cox, B. F., Canipe, J. B., Chuprina, L. A., et al. (2000). Two Decades of Literature on Self-Directed Learning: A Content Analysis. Proceedings of the 41st Annual Adult Education Research Conference, Vancouver, British Columbia, 2000.


Merriam, S. B. (2001a). Something old, something new: Adult learning theory for the twenty-first century. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, no. 89, (pp. 93-96). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Merriam, S. B. (2001b). Andragogy and self-directed learning: Pillars of adult learning theory. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, no. 89, (pp. 3-13). San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.


Web Links


     Roger Hiemstra's home page with links to many articles/resources on adult learning, including a link to selected chapters/appendices in one of      his co-authored books on self-directed learning.


     Rober Hiemstra's self-directed learning tools web page. This page includes links to self-assessments as both teacher and learner and learning      contract information--a wealth of information for those interested in self-directed learning.


     Maurice Gibbon's website (some "pay for view," some free resources)


     A succinct summary of self-directed learning from the National Teaching and Learning Forum (with references)



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