Assessing Self-Directed Learning

You may have heard of the term ‘self-directed learning’ before.  Often self-directed learning refers to adult learning models that meet the needs of professionals at work that pursue advance degrees while on the job.  Many beginning school administrators go through predominately online platforms to gain their administrative credentials while teaching full-time.  Self-directed learning for adults assumes that adults want to learn a their own pace, on their own terms and want to some choice/democracy with their educational process.  The same is true for K-12 students.

Ironically, as students progress through the grades they experience fewer and fewer opportunities to have input into their own learning experience.” Why?  Because schools are beholden to educational outcomes that are often not identified by students.  Rather than dictating learning to students, a student-led model views youth as “co-constructors of learning and players in education redesign”.

Self-direction is a student learning outcome promoted by social emotional learning models evidenced by these core competencies.  There are two conclusions from this research:

  1. As administrators we will need to cultivate competencies  related to self-direction that students crave in their school/learning environment.
  2. As administrators we will see that Self-Direction is a very difficult skill to accurately assess, but there are efforts being made to provide quality tools for assessment, such as the Youth-Adult Partnership Rubric.



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