Theories Of Self-Directed Learning

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initiative for planning their own learning, seeking out the necessary resources, implementing and evaluating their own learning (tenant p10). The research by Tough prompted a multitude of research on the phenomenon. To date self-directed learning is one of the most widely researched area in the field of adult learning ( Owen , T Ross 2002). Categories of SDL Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner p107 have classified studies on self-directed learning into three broad categories. Each of these categories captures a major perspective of self-directed learning. The first of these categories relates to the goals of self-directed learning. Merriam (page 107) lists three goals but of concern to the HRD is the goal that seeks to foster the adult to be self-directed in their own learning. This suggests that adult learners are at different levels of self-directedness and that some may require support. Such support can come in many forms such as ‘helping learners do needs assessments, locating learning resources, choosing instructional methods, and evaluating strategies’ Merriam p107. The second category refers to self-directed learning as a process of learning. Attempts are made to understand the process of self-direction with a view of adopting them to formal learning. They are three main models, linear, interactive, and instructional models Knowles and Tough model are linear. Knowles developed learning contract meant to encourage and support learner’s self-direction.

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