What are the significance and implications of self-directed learning in adult education and social networks?
This Self-directed learning by Stephen Brookfield provides an interesting critique and various perspective on such mode of learning.
Related to Self-directed learning:
What should be the goals of a learning effort?
What resources should be used?
What methods will work best for the learner?
What criteria the success of any learning effort should be judged?
This emphasis on control – on who decides what is right and good and how these things should be pursued – is also central to notions of emancipatory adult education.
Highlander, Horton (1990) stressed that decision making was at the center of our students’ experiences. If you want to have students control the whole process, as far as you get them to control it, then you can never, at any point, take it out of their hands.
p8: Being in control of our learning means that we make informed choices. This means that we act reflectively in ways that further our interests…. Control that is exercised on the basis of limited information and unexamined alternatives is a distorted, mindless and illusory form of control.
In adult education programs which purport to embody the spirit of self-direction it is not unusual for learners to argue that they must have whatever they say they want – and that adult educators’ efforts must be focused on providing these wants or the spirit of self-direction is somehow being compromised.
…After all, they can argue, if adult educators tell us that adults are naturally self-directed learners (in contrast to authority-dependent children) then why bother making provisions for their education?
Won’t they self-directedly take their own initiatives in learning anyway?
I found these questions thought-provoking. Is the provision of adult education still necessary? May be we need it, but then could we supplement and complement adult education (especially in higher education) with social networked learning?
Could we use social networks for informal education and learning?
Is access to learning resources still a problem?
I think more adult learners could access open education resources and information more readily via the internet at this digital age as compared to the 90s. Although there are still many articles and artifacts locked inside the library or publishers website, where fee for service or reading is required, however, adult learners could still exercise their learning options with the aid of various information web sites, social media and networks.
So, in response to Jenny’s post on Learner Autonomy and Teacher Intervention, would learner autonomy be interpreted differently for educators and learners?
Is learner autonomy important in you education? Do you think educators should exercise control over your learning? What sort of educators’ controls do you think would be appropriate for your learning?