Effective Strategies for Creating Self-Directed Learners

Effective Strategies for Creating Self-Directed Learners

Imagine that your classroom is full of independently-working students who are passionate and focused on completing their tasks. Further, imagine you are free to move between the small groups or individuals who need special attention and guidance so they can continue to delve deeper into the content of their lessons. All your students are excited to learn because they oversee their learning paths. They are encouraged to use their strengths and diverse learning styles and know that they receive support from someone who encourages them to pursue learning the way that works best for them. What you are imagining is a self-directed learning environment. 

What is self-directed learning? Also referred to as SDL, self-directed learning is when a person can increase their skills, knowledge, and development through their efforts and abilities. As proven through research in cognitive psychology, the ability to intrinsically nurture your curiosity and development will allow you to excel as far as your skills and desire will take you. When students have the opportunity and framework to take charge of their learning, their possibilities to learn are limitless!


The Importance of Self-Directed Learning

As educators, we want to provide the right tools, techniques, and strategies to ensure our students succeed in our classroom and far beyond their school days. Traditionally, students are taught in teacher-directed environments where learning is the responsibility of the teacher. The teacher guides the lessons, dictates each assignment's direction, and uses specific elements to measure mastery.

While teacher-directed learning is essential, primarily when new material is being taught, self-directed learning is dramatically different because it enables students to customize how they encounter learning, ultimately preparing them for learning throughout their lives. There will come a time when the student must learn how to do tasks on their own. Giving students the right tools and support now during their formative years will ensure that they can rely on their skills to succeed at any stage of their life.

In the course Self-Directed Learning, offered by Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, K-12 teachers will learn how to motivate and empower their students to take responsibility for their learning. Through self-directed learning, teachers will assist students with goal-setting, self-monitoring, reflecting, and independently completing coursework. The possibilities for student motivation, achievement, and success will become exciting to both you and your students when you move from teacher-directed activities to a self-directed learning environment!


Benefits of the Course Self-Directed Learning

Self-Directed Learning presents strategies and techniques that are immediately applicable and easy to understand to create a self-directed learning environment. Through engaging approaches to learning and practicing self-directed learning, here are some other topics you can expect to find in this popular course.

Topics include:

  • Define self-directed learning (SDL)
  • Describe how to develop an SDL program
  • Use the teaching techniques and tools required for helping students to become skilled in SDL
  • Identify the fourteen intellectual dispositions that characterize self-directed learners
  • Perceive the need for learners to be self-directed as they face an increasingly complex future
  • Focus on developing students' intellectual capacity for self-assessment
  • Assess themselves, their environment, and their efforts to build self-directness in others
  • Examine their role and identity to become catalysts for unleashing the motivations of their students
  • Utilize some practical suggestions about getting started on establishing a school dedicated to self-directed learning


Self-Directed Learning Course Contents

Successful completion of Self-Directed Learning will lead to long-lasting benefits for yourself and your students. It may also impact your professional career by allowing you to leverage your new skills towards salary advancement, license renewal, or recertification. Students are encouraged to seek approval from their district or state before enrolling.

Contents include:

  • The Case for Self-Directed Learning
  • A Framework for Teaching SDL
  • Rethinking Student Coursework
  • Planning Lessons and Projects
  • Teaching Independent Thinking
  • Negotiating Student Learning Agreements
  • Motivating and Empowering Students
  • Assessing Student Achievement
  • Pursuing a Path of Excellence
  • Why We Need Self-Directed Learners
  • The Intellectual Dispositions of Self-Directed Learners
  • Developing the Capacity for Self-Assessment
  • Assessing the Conditions for Self-Directed Learning
  • The Teacher's Role in Self-Directed Learning
  • Adapting the Assessment Strategies for Your School and Classroom

Through the three-semester credit course Self-Directed Learning, you will develop the tools necessary to harness and adapt these teaching strategies through a curriculum explicitly made for busy K-12 educators and administrators. All content is self-paced, written in a user-friendly format, and accessible online 24/7 or via PDF format delivered directly to your email inbox.

Note, the University of La Verne is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Since requirements may vary, students should check with their school district or state department of education before enrolling in a course.


How to Register

The course Self-Directed Learning, offered by Professional Development Courses at the University of La Verne, is completed online or via an emailed PDF format. All books and materials are mailed to the student regardless of the format selected. This course is open for registration at any time during each semester. Students also have access to live chat support and can expect a quick turnaround to receive their grades. Upon completion, students receive graduate, non-degree semester credit on official transcripts from the University of La Verne, an accredited university in La Verne, California. 

Registration is simple and can be done online or over the phone. Students may enroll in courses on a rolling basis during three standard semesters, and you can begin whenever you are ready! Students may enroll in up to a maximum of 15-semester credits at any time during each semester.

The registration dates are: 

Fall: September 1 – January 31

Spring: February 1 – May 31

Summer: June 1 – August 31

Our course Self-Directed Learning offers teachers and administrators a solution for motivating students to take responsibility for their learning in an environment conducive to supporting their unique abilities. Whether your students are struggling or proficient, the course Self-Directed Learning will guide you on nurturing their passion for learning to help all your students excel!

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