Adult Learning Abstract Self-Direction in Adult Learning Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Adult Learning Abstract

Self-Direction in Adult Learning Forums

Technology has radically changed the face of adult learning during the past 25 years. The traditional brick-and-mortar classroom, while still dominant, has been joined by a wide variety of technology-based learning venues known as Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs). These virtual venues have been particularly successful in the field of adult education, where the freedom of location and schedule that these platforms offer are particularly attractive to learners. One trend that has been increasingly present in VLE education, and to some extent in the traditional classroom, is the use of self-directed learning.

Self-directed learning is defined as a "training design in which trainees master packages of predetermined material, at their own pace, without the aid of an instructor" (Simmering et al., 2009). Because it does not rely on the presence of an instructor, self-directed learning fits well in VLE platforms. It is particularly relevant and useful in the world of adult education; in fact, Rager (2009) claims that self-directed learning has been "instrumental in defining the field of adult education."

Self-directed learning is by no means limited to formal education. Terry (2006) describes self-directed learning as "a natural part of the psychological and social development that defines adulthood." However, as an androgogical method it has become increasingly prevalent both in practice and in research. Its rising prominence can be somewhat attributed to the rapid growth of virtual and online learning in the past two decades. Simmering et al. (2009) point out that, while the presence of an instructor and classmates has been proven to be an important factor in online education, many online courses have not developed sufficient platforms to offer this sort of interpersonal interaction.

Their necessary reliance on self-directed learning, along with the growing popularity of self-directed learning as a training tool in the workplace, has prompted…

Sources Used in Document:


Rager, K. (2009). I feel, therefore, I learn: The role of emotion in self-directed learning. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 23(2), 22-33.

Silen, C. & Uhlin, L. (August 2008). Self-directed learning -- a learning issue for students and faculty! Teaching in Higher Education, 13(4), 461-475.

Simmering, M.J., Posey, C., & Piccoli, G. (January 2009). Computer self-efficacy and motivation to learn in a self-directed online course. Decision Sciences Journal of Innovative Education, 7(1), 99-121.

Terry, M. (2006). Self-directed learning by undereducated adults. Educational Research Quarterly, 29(4), 28-38.

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