I’m attending the 24th International Self-Directed Learning Symposium in Cocoa Beach, Florida and ON DAY ONE , I wanted to report a few thoughts while it’s fresh. The symposium is presented by the International Society for Self-Directed Learning www.sdlglobal.com founded by Huey B. Long, who is an author of over 700 articles, books, and book chapters on a variety of topics including self-directed learners. Some other major thinkers in the field who are present: Roger Hiemstra, Ralph Brockett, and Lucy Guglielmino (pronounced goo-yell-me-no, she told me directly!)
Self-directed learning (SDL) is basically where the learner is “in the driver’s seat” relating to his/her education and exploring options based on personal interests.
I would argue that self-directed learning is an approach and a subset of the larger field of continuing education. (If you take continuing education to mean both formal and informal learning.)
So, SDL is rooted in a motivation to learn wherever and whenever; at home, school, work, etc. Today, professional fields such as human resources, business, and even the medical field, are trying to find ways that encourages learners to be more self-directed. These activities go beyond the required instruction directed from a teacher, trainer, and lecturer or mandated by an administration, educational board, or executive leadership.
One question that interests me: How to promote self-directed learning beyond the individual that is inclusive, interactive, and social in our global and connected world? Just food for thought…