4 May 2013

Stages of Self Directed Learning

@zecool brought my attention to this blog post via Twitter:

Four Stages of Self Directed Learning (SSDL) published on http://www.educatorstechnology.com

The post refers to these slides by Barbara Stokes, who presents the Gerald Grow's SSDL Model.

Theories of Teaching and Learning: The Staged Self-Directed Learning Model, G.Grow. from Barbara Stokes

So what I am taking away from this reading and those slides?
- Self directed learning is not a new concept < is it revisited more readily since technology has brought about means to achieve personalisation and independence more readily? To be investigated...

- The potential for self direction can be enhanced and moving through the stages can be accelerated with the use of ICTs < this would need to be substantiated

- I respond well to theories which you can visualise in stages: it makes approaching it manageable and it offers a progression which can be investigated and documented.

-  Slide 14 : the learner goes through stages of self direction: opportunity for teacher to use a wide range of methods < how to move from teaching centric to learner centric?

- Slide 15 lists some limitations. In the context of the NZC, could it be envisaged that the use of a tool such as Teaching as Inquiry cycle support overcoming some of these limitations? (eg: inquire into where students are at prior to embarking on any teaching, determined by "How do I get the best out of all of my students?' leading question)

- The model in practice hinges on differentiation, individualisation.

- Both the learner and teacher could benefit from using an eportfolio to document the journey. For the student how they evolve from one stage to another, when they respond better, what teacher's style they need to progress, if they are self directed all the time even in front of new learning. For the teacher to investigate their teaching style and adapt it to the students in front of them through gathering evidence over time and reflecting on practice.

- Could the SSDL could be used as a big picture planning tool that would complement the Teaching as Inquiry targeted approach? The Model fits in with the Vision of the NZC


  1. This couldn't be more timely, in view of the response I've had to my attempts to encourage my learners to take responsibility for their own learning.
    It really helps me to understand that it is a very delicate process to be tackled in stages rather than by imposing it on all of the students whatever stage they are at on this continuum.
    I think it helps to point out and discuss what it looks like and ask students why they want and expect me to make decisions for them about their learning.
    I imagined that it would be more motivating for them to be in charge to a certain extent but for a number of them this is too great an expectation when it's not something they're used to. They would rather be bored doing something that I impose on them and check up on, than analyse their own learning needs and take the necessary next step. I think that's the next job for me. To help them make those decisions about where they need to be putting their effort and devising their own ways of taming the learning.
    If, in the short term, we have to structure our programme around a textbook, I can seek their creative input to make the process more palatable.
    I can't automatically assume that what I find boring will also bore them. It may just be that the material is too familiar to me and too neutral to inspire me. Hence my quest to find new contexts in which to frame Year 7 - 10 learning rather than the same old tired themes. Yet when I ask the students what they are interested in being able to talk about, it comes down more or less to the same thing. So the challenge is how to cover the same old stuff in new and interesting ways. How to think outside the square without going completely off the rails (those being the text book progression). ICT will certainly create plenty of scope for this and now that I have real students to work with I'm looking forward to using it in new ways to enhance the learning.

    1. When I read this article and saw the slides, I thought of you, your students and our conversations around this. Hence me posting! The holiday has given you space and time to think of your next step obviously. ICTs will enhance what can appear blend stuff and who knows if slowly and surely the use of tools may lead to a change in attitude to learning, by allowing them to make choices, present things in a different way, gain an audience beyond the teacher per se? Watch this space! All the best for term 2!

  2. 'Ultimate task is to become unnecessary'
    That's the one!!


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