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Thursday, June 18 • 10:30am - 11:15am
CON05.02 - Students' perceptions of self-directed learning: Meaning, experiences, and value

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Canadian post-secondary institutions aim to graduate critical thinkers, lifelong learners, and people who work well with others. But how do students develop these skills? Self-directed learning (SDL) is promoted as a process for developing student aptitude for lifelong independent and social learning (Brookfield, 2009). For instructors, students’ perceptions of their experiences with SDL provide critical input to informing the facilitation of this process (Raidal & Volet, 2009). This workshop presents findings from a course-based SoTL inquiry project designed to understand the experiences of 17 upper-level undergraduate students enrolled in a special topics SDL course using formal debate and seminar activities. Thematic analysis of a pre/post qualitative survey revealed students’ initially sensed uncertainty–yet satisfaction–in setting their own learning goals and charting their own learning paths. In moving through the SDL process, uncertainty transitioned into appreciating different ways of learning, which gave rise to an intrinsic sense of fulfillment in achieving their own learning goals. This workshop is organized into two parts: first, an overview of the project’s findings framed within the SDL literature, and second, participants sharing examples of their successes and challenges in facilitating SDL and discussing strategies to effectively prepare students for SDL. The intended outcome is to generate ideas for instructors to better design and support students through course-based SDL activities. This session will be of interest to faculty interested in using SDL in classrooms, educational developers who support instructors in using SDL, and educational administrators interested in learning more about the course-level application of SDL._x000D_
Brookfield, S. (2009). Self-Directed Learning. In R. Maclean & D. N. Wilson (eds.), International Handbook of Education for the Changing World of Work: Bridging Academic and Vocational Learning (pp. 2615-2627). Bonn: Springer._x000D_
Raidal, S. L., & Volet, S. E. (2009). Preclinical students’ predispositions towards social forms of instruction and self-directed learning: a challenge for the development of autonomous and collaborative learners. Higher Education, 57(5), 577–596.

Thursday June 18, 2015 10:30am - 11:15am PDT
Seymour Room

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