Self-Directed Learning (SDL)

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Within the adult education sphere, Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is a topic of great interest (Caffarella, 1993). SDL is largely concerned with how individuals take primary responsibility for the planning, execution and evaluation of their own learning experiences (Hiemstra, 1994). This can be in the form of gaining formal qualifications through a prescribed course of study or by the acquisition of knowledge through non-formal platforms such as self-reading and online research. Currently, there is a momentum of interest in Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that do not necessarily form a formal qualification but nevertheless offer individuals the opportunity to gain knowledge, understanding and some expertise in different topics (Pappano, 2012). Perhaps this serves as further evidence that supports how individuals are increasingly taking ownership of their learning, and thus adopting a more SDL approach.

While the idea of SDL as being driven by individuals’ motivation to increase knowledge and gain competency seems almost too obvious a conclusion, there is the interesting observation that motivation cannot exist in isolation (Kerka, 1999), especially when learning often serves the larger purpose of being a
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In addition, two additional fields were incorporated to draw qualitative responses – namely, the questions used to elicit the data were “How has your identity as a self-directed learner changed with time”, and “What are the workplace cultures that influence your self-directed learning”. According to how Stockdale and Brockett (2011) devised the survey tool be used, the responses for the 25 items in the survey were converted to numerical values (i.e. 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5) so that groups of items could form scores that identify certain

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