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Self-Directed Learning

Mrs Nozaki's Steps for Being Self-Directed

- Set Goals

- Plan

- Ask Questions

- Completes Work Without Being Asked

- Works Independently

- Completes Work On Time


Self-direction is the ability to set goals related to learning, plan for the achievement of those goals, independently manage time and effort, and independently assess the quality of learning and any products that result from the learning experience

Students Who Exhibit Exemplary Self-Direction Skills:

In the Planning Phase:

  • Set goals
  • Plan strategically
  • Believe in their abilities

During Learning Activities:

  • Work to reach goals
  • Develop interest in their work
  • Focus and maintain their attention
  • Constantly teach themselves
  • Monitor their own performance
  • Seek help when needed

Upon Completion:

  • Evaluate their work
  • Understand that hard work and perseverance breed success
  • Have positive self-images of themselves as learners
  • Use what they have learned to adapt to new situations

NCREL/Metiri Group. enGauge 21st Century Skills: Literacy in the Digital Age. 2003


Self-Direction in the Digital Age:

Because change occurs constantly in our information-rich society, self-directed, continuous learning is no longer seen as an option for successful workers in the Digital Age (Chao, 2001).  According to the U.S. Department of Labor (1999), today’s workers are participating in more out of school learning to improve their job skills than at any time in the past, and they must continue to do so.  The complexity of today’s workplace makes competence with new literacies and new skills imperative.

Technology serves as a causal agent in this process; the rate of technological change drives the rate of workplace change. The self-directed learner who can anticipate these changes and is constantly upgrading his or her skill set is extremely valuable in the 21st century (BJK Associates, 2002; CEOForum, 2001).  Conversely, those who lack the ability to learn and adapt will find themselves in jeopardy in the modern workplace.

In addition to contributing to the need for lifelong learning, technology can also provide support for learners in ways that, ten years ago, were not even possible.  Access to knowledge resources, opportunities for collaboration, online courses, and just-in-time learning environments have caused an exponential growth in the resources that are available to support self-directed learning.  For the learner who has internalized the processes that support self-directed learning, this profusion of resources makes learning more readily available today than at any time in history. 

(Metiri Group. enGauge 21st Century Skills)