The first assumption underlying Knowles’s view of andragogy is that learners become increasingly self-directed as they mature. Mainly, self-directed learning is learning that the learner initiates. It is an active process of change which takes place inside the learner. For learning to occur, the learner must be so motivated that he or she will not only start the learning activity but will persist in it as well; therefore he or she becomes a lifelong learner.
What Motivates the Self-Directed Learner?
According to Cross (1992), the first condition for self-directed learning is one of which we are all aware – motivation. There needs to be some type of drive in order for learning to happen. Social needs are occasionally strong sources of motivation because every human being needs to have some way of giving and receiving affection. An adult’s desire to be a part of a social group is one very important source of motivation. Another source of motivation is the immense satisfaction that human beings derive from their own activity, especially an activity that is meaningful and enables the learner to satisfy interests and to attain creditable goals.
Common Barriers to Lifelong Learning
Some of the barriers to lifelong learning include age, educational background, and socio-economic status, the learning environment, time-constraints, and the cost of learning.
Overcoming or eliminating barriers to lifelong learning can be fostered by an increased availability of educational organizations as well as the methods intended to aid self-directed learners, enhancing the quality of learning assistance and guidance by several organizations, enhancing the learners’ confidence, direct participation in the self-directed learning process, increase in motivation, acceptance of new learning circumstances, and accepting more learning responsibilities.
Self-directed learning entails the initiation of learning by the learner, identification of the learner’s own learning goals, choosing and making use of learning strategies, and assessing the learning outcomes.
Cross, K. P. (1992). Adults as learners: Increasing participation and facilitating learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
By Shirley J. Caruso, M.A., Human Resource Development