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is a conceptual framework for understanding self-direction in adult education

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G. Brockett and Roger Hiemstra declare that self-guidance refers to learning
two distinct however interrelated dimensions: a educating process where the learner is
take main duty for the training process; and character
characterized by a learner's want or preferences
duty for learning.

Content material: introduction · self
path in adult education: a misunderstood concept ·
educating technique or character trait? ·
self-directed learning as an umbrella concept ·
pro-model: a framework for understanding self-guidance in adult education
· Conclusion

The introduction of self-guidance in adult education: Theoretical views,
Analysis and Follow Brockett and Hiemstra write:

Few subjects, if any, have acquired more consideration in the adult area
during the last 20 years as self-directed learning. Since then
In 1971, Allen Robust's seed research, The Adult's Studying Tasks, was released
The fascination with self-designed and self-directed studying has led to something
the most important and most sustainable research fields in the historical past of the sector.
Concurrently, many new packages and practices, similar to exterior
degree packages and pc and video technologies are enthusiastic
help many features of the business. Time appears applicable for drawing

The self-orientation of adult learning was their effort to "understand
this info and a number of practices which have made so much to design
the current face of adult education in North America and certainly in the world
in most elements of the world ”.

This chapter presents some key theoretical concepts of the concept.

  Ralph G. Brockett

G. Brockett is Professor of Adult Education, University of Tennessee,
Knoxville, TN. He has B.A. and M.Ed. degrees from Toledo College and
Ph.D. in adult education at Syracuse College, the place he concentrated
self-directed studying and launching an progressive weekend
Heads of Researchers in the Adult Education Program. Former Fee President
Amongst adult education professors, Brockett has also served as Professor roles
University of Syracuse and College of Montana. He has revealed extensively,
including the annual adult education award. He also labored
Senior editor for new numbers for adults and additional education
for years.

  Roger Himstra

Hiemstra is Professor and Chair of Adult Education on the University of Elmira. He was
Worldwide Adult and Persevering with Education Administration Middle
2000. His books embrace Lifelong Studying (1976), Self-directed in adults
Learning: Theories, Research and Practices (1991), Surroundings
for efficient adult education (1991) and defeating self-direction
(1994) and professional writing (1994).

hyperlinks: the complete textual content of the e-book and a number of other helpful
material discovered
Roger Hiemstra Website. See additionally discussion
informal education encyclopedia

Self-directed studying is a lifestyle. This is an concept that worked
In the background of the first chapter it might be apparent to many readers. Nevertheless, a lot
what we do as adult educators is towards this primary concept. myths
The examples in the primary chapter illustrate a few of the ways we will
Typically you misunderstand or abuse our position in a means which will battle
This "way of life" is, in our opinion, a giant a part of this misunderstanding and abuse
is largely because of the confusion that is associated to what is meant
self-directed in adult education.

In this chapter we attempt to alleviate a few of this confusion by offering a
a conceptual framework that can help clarify the concept of self-control
in relation to adult education. We begin by taking a look at alternative ways
where self-orientation and related ideas are outlined. Then we provide
our personal definition of self-guidance in adult education. Finally we share a
a conceptual framework that emphasizes variations in self-directed studying
as a educating technique and a learner's personal orientation as a character

Self Course in Adult Education:
misunderstood concept

As in many concepts discovered in adult education and follow
Education, self-directed learning is filled with confusion. This confusion
it is combined with most of the associated concepts which are typically used
or the like. Examples embrace self-directed studying,
unbiased learning, self-study, unbiased studying, unbiased research,
and distance studying. Still, these phrases supply assorted, though typically delicate
totally different weights. You possibly can illustrate these variations with multiple views
self-guidance could be in contrast and contrasted.

Early View of Unbiased Education.
Within the 19th century, Hosmer (1847) described self-education as follows
approach: “The widespread opinion seems to be self-evident
only the best way it is procured. It is believed to imply merely
without a instructor or in all instances without an oral buy
Educating – Advantages which are all the time understood in the traditional course of education.
But this is just a unfavourable thing, however necessary. . . there is just one
several particulars specific to non-public education. . . . As well as
no less than, many or all the normal studying alternatives are missing
three issues which might be attribute of this company, specifically: a longer time
a wider range of studies and the upper nature of the merchandise. ”(P. 42)

A lifelong learning perspective.
It is necessary to consider self-directed learning from lifelong studying
from view. Lifelong learning, as said in Chapter eight, is not
the exclusive rights of adult trainers; it refers to learning that occurs
all through the life cycle. This view is supported by Kidd (1973)
the following point: “It has typically been stated that
or any type of education, is to make the subject continuous,
An “internally directed” unbiased learner. ”(S. 47)

Mocker has given one other means to take a look at self-directed studying
and Spear (1982). Utilizing a 2 x 2 matrix based mostly on learner and facility management
– studying aims (objectives) and instruments (processes),
Spear acknowledges four teams of lifelong studying: formal, where
“Learners have no power to achieve learning goals or means”;
non-formal, where "learners control goals, but not means;" informal
where “learners guide ways but not goals;” and self-directed,
where “learners guide both goals and means” (1982, p. four).

Self-directed studying and coaching.
Let's take a look at the self-orientation related to youth schooling,
Della-Dora and Blanchard (1979) supply the following view: “Self-directed
Learning refers back to the traits of education that must be totally different
in a democratic society in autocratic societies. ”(P. 1)

In describing the character of self-education, Gibbons and Phillips
(1982) supply a totally different view of self-education and education: “Unbiased education
outdoors the official institutions, not inside them. Information may be taught
and working towards in faculties, academics can progressively transfer the authority and
duty for self-direction for students and unbiased studying might be
Simulated, but self-education can only happen when individuals are optional
study and others usually are not pressured to show them – especially not to train
for them a curriculum on a specific matter. Although faculties can prepare college students
For the lifetime of self-education, actual self-education can solely occur when a individual
needs to study what he also can determine not to study. ”(P. 69)

This second view reinforces the thought of ​​learning as a lifelong process.
Although the main target of this guide is on self-guidance in adult studying,
it is necessary to notice that self management is not limited to
studying in adult years.

The attitude of the training process.
Self-guidance in maturity is typically described as a studying course of
special levels the place the learner takes main steerage. Robust (1979)
for example, has emphasised the idea of unbiased studying. His research was
part of the method: "planning and decision-making".
learning elements.

Moore (1980) has used the concepts of "independent learner"
described an individual who can do the next: “Acknowledge him
the need for learning when he finds a drawback that needs to be solved, the talent to be acquired, or
info. He can categorical his needs a
general aim, to differentiate this objective from a variety of specific objectives and. ,
outline pretty clearly the standards for profitable achievement. In
he wants, collects the knowledge he needs, collects concepts,
Workouts expertise, works to unravel problems and reach their objectives. In
When evaluating, the learner assesses the appropriateness of the newly acquired expertise
the quality of their options and the standard of their new ideas and information.

One other imaginative and prescient of self-guidance that emphasizes the levels of studying
Knowles (1975) has offered a process. His views might have been probably the most
used in adult education literature up to now: “At its widest
“Self-directed learning” describes the method in which individuals take
initiative with or with out help in diagnosing learning
wants, designing learning objectives, figuring out human and material assets
studying, choosing and implementing applicable learning methods, and. ,
consider learning outcomes. ”(P. 18)

An evolving perspective.
People not only deviate from their vision of self-orientation in learning, however moderately
every individual's vision is more likely to change over time. Subsequently, when contemplating
definitions, it is not simply perceive who has offered the special
definition but when it was provided. This improvement process may be
described by Stephen Brookfield. For instance, in 1980
Brookfield used the time period "independent adult education" to explain the process
takes place in situations the place selections on intermediate and terminal are made
aspiring studying objectives, scholar progress, analysis procedures
have to be used, and the sources of the material to be consulted are in the palms of the EU
learner ”(1980, p. 3).

Next, Brookfield began to participate in his ideas
self-guidance in North American adult education literature, time period
“Self-directed learning” started to appear in his writing. When utilizing this time period
Brookfield (1984c) noted the necessity to acknowledge the differences between "learning"
and 'education'. Numerous authors who had intervened in this distinction are mentioned
(e.g., Jensen, 1960; Verner, 1964; Little, 1979; and Boshier, 1983), Brookfield
famous that studying has been used alternately to explain "internal change"
consciousness. . . central nervous system change ”
"a variety of activities… learning the same way" (p. 11).
61). On this sense, more is used alternately for learning, whereas
the latter is used in the identical approach as education.

Just lately, Brookfield (1988) has expressed this concern for semantic
to the extent that the phrase "self-directed learning" is used
he "returns to talk concerning the complicated phenomenon of learning
inner consciousness change) and make a distinction between them
the phenomenon and the tutorial setting or means in which such studying takes place ”.
(p. 16). Some may be a nuisance to writers who make such dramatic modifications
over time, we’re proud of Brookfield's efforts, though we don’t agree
in response to his current view that the adult education sector ought to hand over
enthusiasm for the concept of self-directed learning, Brookfield exhibits a
need to adapt to new insights and knowledge and change her
respectively. The truth is, the later conceptual framework
The figure reflects the development of 1's own considering of self-control

Educating Technique or
Character Function?

As said earlier, most attempts to know self-guidance
Learning up to now has targeted on the concept of the educating process
which the learner takes a main position in designing, implementing and
to guage expertise. Yet, this view weakens when seen
in relation to semantic and conceptual considerations such because the considerations expressed by Brookfield.
One of the first elements is confusion
Self-directed learning was Kasworm (1983), who said that it was self-directed
learning might be thought-about 'among the basic, restricted behaviors; consider
a system that reflects and evolves from the self-initiated learning course of
actions; or the perfect state of a mature self-made learner ”(p. 1). at
at the similar time, Chene (1983) dealt with the idea of independence he had
largely just like self-directed learning. On this article, Chene
separating the 2 meanings of autonomy, the place one view is psychological
and the second ”relates to a technique that either assumes the learner
is unbiased or attempts to realize independence by way of education ”(p. 40).

It is clear that the priority about what is meant by self-directed learning is a
pertinent. Take, for example, a researcher in learning
self-guidance as an inner transformation course of, but which operates
self-directed studying as a educating course of. Although it is clear
similarity between the two concepts, the thoughts usually are not the identical. Truly
famous in chapter 4, this has been a drawback in a lot of the research
in the direction of themselves.

In about one yr, three authors tried to clarify the which means
self-directed studying. Brookfield (1984c), as said earlier, used
Boshier's (1983) claim that the term is unclear
self-directed learning might be linked to the confusion of learning (an
inner transformation process) and training (exterior management process)
circumstances that facilitate this inner change). On this sense, the time period
"Self-directed learning" might greatest be reserved for the former, while the latter
it might be considered a self-directed training.

At about the identical time, Fellenz (1985) resigned
self-guidance as a studying course of and personal improvement.
In line with Fellenz, self-guidance may be seen in two ways: ”. . .
both in the training course of or psychological
private improvement achieved by the individual. Each elements might be
are thought-about as superior talents and thus both have been analyzed as to how they’re
and how they have an effect on self-directed learning activities. ”(1985, p. 164)

Fellenz builds a connection between self-guidance and personal improvement
draw from ideas such as the inside development (Riesman, 1950),
self-realization (Maslow, 1954), place of control (Rotter, 1966), autonomy (Erikson,
1964) and Area Independence (Witkin, Oltman, Raskin, & Karp, 1971).

Oddi made a third try and clarify the idea of self-direction
(1984, 1985), which studies on the development of a new instrument
determine what he refers to as "self-directed in-service trainers". Oddi
Steady Studying Stock (OCLI), a 24-part Likert scale, grew from Odd
concern concerning the lack of a theoretical basis for understanding character
the traits of self-directed steady learners. Creating this
The instrument mentioned in extra detail in the fourth chapter was progress
it is vital to differentiate the characteristics of self-directed character
the idea of learners and self-directed studying ”
self-teaching ”(Oddi, 1985, p.230). This difference is not the other
The concept of autonomy by Chene (1983).

In the following article, Oddi (1987) was separated from the method
viewpoint ”and“ personality perspective ”in relation to self-directed
studying, suggesting that the method has been dominated by the method
analysis and follow up to now. As can be shown later
On this chapter, this distinction between process and character views is
the guts of the model we current.

Finally, Sweet (1988) has offered further help for separation
concepts. Important evaluation of the concept of "self-orientation" by the use of a evaluate
literature and synthesis of analysis results, Sweet said
self-guidance has been used ”(i) as a personal high quality or attribute (private
autonomy); (ii) as an unbiased train outdoors of studying outdoors formal learning
instructional settings (autodidaxy); and (iii) the best way to arrange
instruction (learner-guidance) ”(p. 1033-A). So Sweet takes probably the most
further segregation by separating the training process
each inside and out of doors the institutional surroundings.

It is clear that the idea of self-directed learning has been rigorously thought-about
final years. The end result is an necessary difference
the concept of self-directed studying and self-direction
just like the character structure. This separation requires careful consideration if we do
Making progress in research and follow

Self-directed studying as an umbrella idea

As we’ve stated, the thought of ​​self-directed studying has gone by means of
in current years. Actually, this improvement can
typically seen in one case, as has happened
Brookfield. It is also mirrored in refined modifications that outcome
many individuals for a few years. Like Brookfield's, we own
the ideas of self-directed learning have advanced over time. The subsequent two
definitions seek advice from earlier considering of the concept: "
Self-Designed Learning-Studying, self-directed, self-initiated,
and sometimes carried out alone. (Hiemstra, 1976a, p. 39) and
Self-directed learning is the exercise the place the first duty lies
the design, implementation and analysis of a studying enterprise shall be taken under consideration
a person learner. ”(Brockett, 1983b, p. 16)

In contrast to Brookfield, as an alternative of shifting away
concept, we consider the view that there is a have to broaden the concept and
encourages its continuous improvement as a key theme in the adult sector
training. Nevertheless, we consider that we should transfer away from this
emphasis on the time period "self-directed learning"
confusion about self-directed learning as a educating technique compared to character
attribute, we advise that the time period self-directed learning can supply
width, which is needed for a higher understanding of the present.

In our opinion, self-directed studying refers to 2 distinct but interrelated
dimensions. The primary of these dimensions is the process of the learner
take main duty for design, implementation and evaluation
a studying course of. A training agent or useful resource typically has a facilitating position
in this process. This is the concept of self-directed studying
commonly used in professional literature. Second
The dimension, referred to as the learner's course, focuses on the learner's own path
a want or preferable duty for learning. this is
character facet discussed earlier. So self-learning refers to studying
each the external traits of the educating process and the interior
learner traits, if the individual is the primary
duty for the training expertise. The rest of this chapter will probably be
give attention to the talk on a mannequin to make clear this definition.

PRO mannequin: framework for understanding self-guidance in adult education

If the thought of ​​self-direction in studying is thought-about to incorporate each
educating technique processes (self-directed studying) and character
The traits of the individual (the learner's course) are necessary
contemplate how these two dimensions are related. The best way for instance this
relationship, we advise a model that separates these two dimensions
whereas recognizing that these two dimensions are inseparable
is associated to a broader view of self-management. This is the model we name
"Personal Responsibility Orientation" (PRO) mannequin of self-orientation in maturity
The purpose of learning is to determine each differences and similarities
self-directed studying as a technique of educating and directing the learner himself
character function. The purpose of the mannequin is not simply to behave
higher understanding, it may also act as a frame
constructing concept, analysis and apply for the longer term. The primary elements of PRO
The model proven in Figure 2.1 is proven under.

Figure 2.1: “Private duty
Orientation ”(PRO) mannequin

Personal duty as a key idea.
As shown in Determine 2.1, the purpose of understanding
In response to the PRO model, self-directed adult learning is a concept
private duty. By personal duty we imply individuals
owns his personal thoughts and deeds. Private duty
doesn’t necessarily mean controlling your private life circumstances
in the neighborhood of. Nevertheless, it doesn’t imply that the individual has the facility to answer
state of affairs. As Elias and Merriam (1980) have summarized, conduct is
the results of human selection that individuals are free to make use of ”(p. 118). for
For instance, oppressed individuals often do not control their social surroundings;
nevertheless, they will choose how they react to the surroundings. They will
differ from themselves by accepting the established order, or they could choose to behave as they want
designed to vary the current state of affairs. Within the latter case, the end result
might not all the time be desirable, the choice to act in a sure approach displays
choosing not to accept "the way things are."
Studying is the power and / or willingness of people to regulate
their own studying that determines their own path.

We largely depend on the assumptions of humanistic philosophy
emphasizing personal duty with two concepts. To begin with, we bear in mind the view
that the nature of the human being is principally good and that the individuals have follow
unlimited progress potential. Secondly, we consider that only by accepting
duty for their very own learning might be exercised proactively
strategy to the training process. These assumptions imply nice religion
and belief the learner and thus provide the idea for the concept
personal duty for studying.

Perhaps one other method to understand what we imply by personal duty
found in the thought of ​​independence, as Chene has handled
The following perspective: “Autonomy means you’ll be able to and do your personal
rules they usually can select to respect the requirements. In other phrases,
Autonomy means the power to choose what is value, in different phrases
make decisions in line with self-knowledge. ”(1983, p. 39)

Autonomy, as outlined above, assumes that a individual is personal
duty as a result of one is unbiased of all external rules and
limitations ”(Chene, 1983, p. 39).

Though we see personal duty as the cornerstone
in self-directed learning, it is necessary to emphasize three issues.
To begin with, once we emphasize our commitment to human potential
Limitless, we consider that every particular person will take some private
duty. It is not both / or a function. So adult learners
they’ve totally different talents to take duty for themselves
as learners. As said in the last chapter, the misunderstanding assumes
that learners can attain a excessive degree of learning expertise
Self-direction is already intact. Self-direction is not a panacea for all issues
associated to adult education. Nor is it all the time crucial for somebody to be very high
self-directed to be a profitable learner. Nevertheless, in case you can
it is assumed that the desirable aim of adult education is higher control
(and we consider it is!), then the position of adult trainers is to help learners
are capable of take on increasingly more personal duty

Secondly, emphasizing private duty
Self-directed learning signifies that the primary focus of studying is studying
the method is the individual, not the larger society. Nonetheless accept
duty for its actions as a learner doesn’t ignore the social context
the place learning happens. Such a view can be very short-sighted.
Nevertheless, what private duty means is the start line
Understanding the training is inside the individual. When this individual is
the dimension is acknowledged, it is then necessary to discover the social dimensions
that affect the training process. There is faith in this level
one who takes private duty as a person is stronger
also be extra socially responsible.

Lastly, it is essential to note that taking duty for your personal
thoughts and actions, together with duty
these actions. As Rogers (1961, p. 171) has said, it is a 'self-directed instrument
that chooses – after which learns concerning the penalties. "
Adult Education Day (1988) has used imaginary literature for example this
paragraph. Drawing of works
Oidipus Rex, Martin Eden, Pygmalion and Instructional Rita, Day
argues that adults are "decision-making beings" who’re "ultimately responsible"
in phrases of their selections, "the outcomes of our learning expertise can
is more likely to lead to dissatisfaction with the state of well-being ”and it is often
“Learning produces consequences” (p. 125).

Lastly, the idea of private duty as used
The PRO model signifies that learners have decisions about what they are doing
as learners. As well as, duty is accepted
consequences of ideas and actions as a learner. A private concept
Duty is additional developed all through the guide, especially
The seventh chapter, where the theoretical foundations of the learner's course are

Self-directed learning: the path of the method.
Self-directed studying, as we’ve got come to see the term, refers
educating technique. It is a course of that focuses on
planning, implementation and evaluation of studying. A lot of the writings and
A research of self-designed and self-designed learning from the early and mid-1970s
was developed from this attitude (eg Knowles, 1975; Robust, 1979).
Similarly, we’ve got used the definitions of private learning
beforehand (Hiemstra, 1976a; Brockett, 1983a) emphasize this development of the method.
In addition, one in every of us (Hiemstra, 1988a; Hiemstra & Sisco, 1990) has described this
an individual educating and studying process.

The process of self-guidance in adult education focuses
the traits of the educating and learning event. Subsequently, when contemplating
this facet of self-direction is a trigger for concern
the person. Evaluation of wants, assessment, studying assets, roles of the counselor
and unbiased analysis are a number of the concepts that belong to
a subject of self-directed learning. The photographs are in
Current books by Knowles and Associates (1984) and Brookfield (1985) are examples
this concept of self-directed learning as a educating course of in these areas
human assets improvement, continuous vocational training, graduate education
undergraduate and Group education. Considering the difference
Lessons and coaching which were completed in the previous chapter, some readers might want
Think of this process as a "self-directed training". We do not
don’t agree with this term but choose to confer with the process as "self-directed
studying ”to emphasize the link to the inspiration founded by Knowles. number
Six gives a more accurate understanding of the process orientation of self-directed studying.

Course of the learner's self: private orientation.
Though a lot of the work that has been based mostly on a self-centered basis
studying has targeted on the process orientation described above
the importance of understanding the qualities of profitable self-directed learners
is additionally often highlighted. For example, Knowles (1970) was identified
several assumptions based mostly on the concept of andragogy as an assist
adults study. The first of those assumptions was that of adult self-understanding
learners are characterized by self-orientation, while habit characterizes
Baby's self concept. Knowles (1980) later modified his view of pedagogy
and andragog from dichotomy to continuity. Nevertheless, his focus is
Self-perception displays the centrality of character as an unbiased one
studying course. This focus. T.
The learner or the individual's inner elements are what we name
"Personal orientation" or the path of the learner himself.

Thus, in our view, learner self-direction check with characteristics of an
person who predispose one in the direction of taking main duty for employees
learning endeavors. Conceptually, the notion of learner self-direction grows
(1961, 1983), Maslow (1970), and others
Writers from the world of ​​humanistic psychology. Proof of this employees
Orientation may be found in self-direction in adult
learning because the late 1970s. For example, self-directedness has been studied
in relation to such variables as creativity (Torrance & Mourad, 1978),
self-concept (Sabbaghian, 1980), life satisfaction (Brockett 1983c, 1985a),
mental improvement (Shaw, 1987), and hemisphericity (Blackwood, 1988).
Learner self-direction is discussed additional in Chapter Seven.

Self-Course in Studying: The Very important Hyperlink.
As we identified earlier, self-direction in studying is a time period that we use as
an umbrella idea to recognize each external elements that facilitate the
learner taking main duty for planning, implementing, and evaluating
learning, and inner elements or character traits that predispose
one towards accepting duty for one’s ideas and actions as a learner.
The PRO mannequin illustrates this distinction between exterior and inner forces.
At the similar time it recognizes, via the notion of private duty,
that there is a robust connection between self-directed studying and learner
self-direction. This connection offers a key to understanding the success of
self-direction in a given studying context.

It was noted in Chapter One which one of the myths related to self-direction
in studying is that it is an “all-or-nothing” attribute. In our view, both
the interior and external elements of self-direction may be seen on a
continuum. Thus, a given learning state of affairs will match somewhere inside a range
relative to alternative for self-directed studying and, similarly, an
individual’s degree of self-directedness will fall someplace within a vary of
potential levels. Associated to this view of self-direction as a continuum is our
perception that it is a mistake to think about excessive self-direction as best in all
learning conditions. As we now have famous beforehand, because of “the good
variety that exists both in studying types and in reasons for learning, it is
extremely shortsighted to advance” the view that self-direction is the easiest way
to study and that as an alternative, it is more fascinating to think about self-direction as
“an ideal mode of learning for certain individuals and for certain situations”
(Brockett & Hiemstra, 1985, p. 33). It is this level that serves to link the
ideas of self-directed learning and learner self-direction.

We propose that optimal circumstances for studying end result when there is a
stability or congruence between the learner’s degree of self-direction and the
extent to which opportunity for self-directed learning is attainable in a given
state of affairs. If, for example, one is predisposed towards a excessive degree of
self-directedness and is engaged in a learning experience where self-direction
is actively facilitated, possibilities for success are high. Similarly, the learner
who is not as excessive in self-directedness is more likely to find consolation and, in all
probability, a larger probability of success in a state of affairs the place the trainer
assumes a extra directive position. In each situations, the probabilities for success are
comparatively high, because the learner’s expectations are congruent with the
circumstances of the training state of affairs.

The place difficulties and frustrations arise is when the stability between
inner traits of the learner will not be in concord with exterior
characteristics of the teaching-learning transaction. Individuals who enter a
studying state of affairs with a clear concept of how and what they want to study are
more likely to turn out to be annoyed and disenchanted if not given the freedom to pursue
these directions. In the same vein, the learner who seeks a excessive degree of
steerage and path will in all probability have comparable feelings in a state of affairs the place
the facilitator emphasizes an lively leadership position by the learners. For
individuals in either state of affairs, the issue is that the teaching-learning
state of affairs is not in harmony with the needs and wishes the learner delivered to
the state of affairs. This does not mean that the learner was “unsuccessful,” nor that
the facilitator was “ineffective.” Relatively, it suggests that success and
effectiveness are relative phrases that rely upon clear communication of wants and
expectations amongst all parties engaged in the teaching-learning transaction.

The notion of learner self-direction, as a component of the PRO model,
suggests a common tendency that exists to a larger or lesser diploma in all
learners. Nevertheless, it is necessary to acknowledge that situational elements are
typically more likely to impression on the kind of educational technique a learner will search.
An adult who seeks to study present developments in actual estate, for instance,
could also be prepared to relinquish management over the training state of affairs to the session
leader for causes of expedience or because of a private lack of expertise and
expertise in the actual property area. This does not diminish the learner’s degree
of self-direction; indeed, the choice to relinquish a degree of control was
consciously made by the learner.

A number of years in the past, the primary writer attended a analysis conference the place
members met to trade info and concepts based mostly on current research.
The format for this convention, as is typically the case for research conferences,
was a collection of paper periods and symposia consisting of formal shows
followed by questions and discussions from the audience. In a single symposium, the
first presenter started by discussing a number of the research developments in the topical
area into account. Nevertheless, about 20 minutes later, the second presenter
started his portion of the symposium by asking individuals to move their chairs
into a circle in order that it might be simpler to “share ideas.” No less than half of the
group exercised a diploma of self-direction by instantly leaving the room.

The above examples have been introduced for example two factors. First,
self-directed studying–the tactic that the second presenter was making an attempt to
implement–is not inherently the most effective technique for adult learning. Although we
consider that self-directed learning situations will most often be suitable
with the needs, wishes, and capabilities of adult learners, there are times
when a highly teacher-directed strategy will prove only and, indeed,
shall be anticipated and even demanded.

Second, when contemplating the match between self-directed studying and learner
self-direction, it is necessary to keep in mind that the congruence between
these dimensions might at occasions be mitigated by elements such because the expectations
of the learners. That symposium presenter must definitely have felt a degree of
frustration and perhaps harm as half of the audience walked out on his efforts
to create a climate that most certainly had served him very properly in other settings.
Nevertheless, it is doubtless that the shortage of congruence between his strategy and the
context in which the training state of affairs was happening led to the exodus of so
many members. This brings us to a last component of the PRO mannequin, which is
a consideration of the social context in which self-direction in learning

The Social Context for Self-Course in Learning.
The final aspect of the PRO mannequin is represented by the circle encompassing the
other parts. One of the frequent criticisms of self-direction in
learning has been an overemphasis on the person, which is often
accompanied a failure to think about the social context in which studying takes
place. Brookfield (1984c), for example, has steered that by “concentrating
attention on the features of particular person learner management over the planning,
conduct and evaluation of studying, the significance of studying networks and
casual learning exchanges has been forgotten” (p. 67). Within the PRO model, the
individual learner is, in reality, central to the thought of self-direction. Nevertheless,
such learning activities cannot be divorced from the social context in which
they occur. This level is additional strengthened via discussions on the position of
institutions in Chapter Eight and coverage points in Chapter 9. We agree with
Brookfield that social context is very important to understanding self-direction and
that, so far, this concern has largely been missed. Brookfield’s (1981) own
research, in which he discovered that “independent adult learners” typically perform as
a “fellowship of learning” is a noteworthy exception to this gap in information.
One of many myths of self-direction identified in Chapter One is that such
learning takes place in isolation. With a view to really understand the influence of
self-direction, each as an educational technique and as a character
attribute, it is essential to acknowledge the social milieu in which such
exercise transpires.

Related to the social context are the political implications of
self-direction in learning. Once more, Brookfield (1984c) has helped to boost
consciousness concerning the politics of self-direction. This, in flip, triggered the
following response: “Brookfield’s feedback are most insightful, for they drive
us to ponder the actual consequences of conditions where learners are really in
management of their studying. . . . many people, particularly those who might be
thought-about “hard-to-reach”, might consider that formal instructional settings can
reinforce conformity while stifling creativity. For such individuals, establishments
could also be perceived as antithetical to the self-directed learning course of. On a
bigger scale, these points are amplified in conditions the place people view
themselves as powerless in determining the path of their lives. What are
the potential penalties. . . of promoting self-direction in societies the place
particular person human rights could also be in question? Clearly, the difficulty of control is a
essential one because, finally, it should move beyond the individual dimension
into the social and political arenas.” (Brockett, 1985c, p. 58)

Thus, while the person is the “starting point” for understanding
self-direction in adult learning, the social context offers the world in which
the activity of self-direction is played out. So as for us to really
perceive the phenomenon of self-direction in adult studying, it is going to be
essential to acknowledge and cope with the interface between these particular person and
social dimensions. Chapters Eight and Ten tackle the social context from
institutional and cross-cultural views, respectively.


In this chapter, we now have tried to alleviate a few of the confusion
surrounding the which means of self-direction and associated ideas. By proposing the
Personal Duty Orientation mannequin, we are suggesting that in order to
understand the complexity of self-direction in adult learning, it is essential
to acknowledge differences between self-directed learning as an educational
technique and learner self-direction as a character attribute. These two
dimensions are linked by way of the recognition that each emphasizes the
importance of learners assuming private duty for their thoughts and
actions. Lastly, the PRO model is designed to advance understanding of
self-direction by recognizing the very important position played by the social context in
which studying takes place. Shifting to a crucial examination of analysis on
self-direction in the subsequent two chapters, the remainder of the e-book is designed
to additional illuminate the ideas expressed in the PRO model.

Full details of the references might be found at:

To quote this chapter: Brockett, R. G. and Hiemstra, R. (1991) ‘A conceptual framework for understanding self-direction in adult learning’ in Self-Course in Adult Learning: Views on Principle, Analysis, and Apply, London and New York: Routledge. Reproduced in the casual education archives:

Acknowledgement: Photograph by Nicolas Raymond. Sourced from Flickr ccby2

Copyright © 1991 Ralph G. Brockett and Roger Hiemstra
First placed in the archives: April 2002. Reprinted with permission.

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