Self-activity on the part of the learner is an important element of the self-directed adult learner. There is a great need for activity in effective, self-directed learning. Action alone promotes learning in the self-directed learning process. The momentum and the accuracy of learning become most effective only in direct proportion to the amount of activity during the process. In other words, momentum, accuracy and permanence of learning enhance in proportion to the amount of activity stimulated in the learning process. The implication is that the self-directed learner is active and participates in as many ways as possible in the learning activity. The learning tasks must challenge the learner and bring out the learner’s cooperation. Seeing, hearing, and reading are all helpful forms of action, but they are not enough. The learner must think and express himself or herself as often as possible.
Strategies that Enhance Self-Directed Learning
Strategies that enhance self-directed learning include active recall and memorization. Adult educators can further enhance the characteristics of self-directed learners by expanding the learner’s activities through field trips, outings, and visits to companies and organizations. Projects which involve construction also make self-directed learners more active.
The Extent and Significance of Self-Directed Learning
Self-directed learning is unlimited in its extent and significance. Self-directed learning efforts can meet several challenges associated with today’s demands of keeping abreast on new information and continually changing knowledge. Self-directed learners can become empowered to carry on the desired learning and are able to transfer learning where the skill or knowledge is needed. Self-directed learning is a trait in every adult but in varying degrees and different learning circumstances and does not necessarily mean all learning is due to the learner, but it could also involve others as well.
Self-directed learning involves varied activities and resources, such as memorization, active recall, learning applications, field trips, outings, projects which involve construction, and visits to companies and organizations.
By Shirley J. Caruso, M.A., Human Resource Development