Important Self-Directed Learning 2023 - educationtopstories
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Important Self-Directed Learning 2023

Self-Directed Learning

The benefits of independent study may be enormous for both students and the advisors who guide them. Independent study gives students the chance to investigate not only a specific topic but also their own learning strategies and goals, and learning contracts can play a crucial role in ensuring that this process is successful, as explained in our Teaching Tip, Self-Directed Learning: A Four-Step Process. Learning contracts create explicit goals and project schedules, encourage students to reflect on their learning processes, and offer students control over their learning from the beginning of a project or class. Learning contracts serves as a guide for individual study units and as instruments to help with evaluation for teachers.

To maximise these advantages, students should create their own learning contracts, which the advising teacher analyses and offers helpful criticism and modification recommendations for. Both parties should sign the final contract since it is an agreement between the instructor and the student. If changes are made as the learning experience develops, both parties should agree to them and sign the revised contract.

Self-Directed Learning
Self-Directed Learning

This Teaching Tip discusses the advantages and drawbacks of learning contracts, defines the roles of the student and the instructor in developing learning contracts, and closes with an example learning contract you may use to guide the creation of independent study opportunities for your students.


A learning contract is a voluntary form that students fill out that states the steps they agree to do in a course to succeed academically. The kid, the teacher, and (optionally) the parent all sign this contract. However, the advantages of all such contracts are that they offer academic structure and support, encourage struggling students by making them publicly promise to engage in particular, positive study and learning behaviours, and act as a means of reaching an understanding between teachers and students on the significance of the course goals and the best ways to achieve them (Intervention Central, 2013). Normally, the student and teacher meet in private to finalise the contract. If there are things that must be handled at home, parents may occasionally be involved in the process.

What is the self-directed learning process?

Dissecting the six components of the aforementioned definition is the most effective way to describe the self-regulated learning process.

Let’s examine each of them individually.

  1. Self-directed learning begins with taking the initiative, with or without assistance.
    The initial driving force is your need or desire, which may be aided by others or driven entirely by you.

2. Learning by self-direction involves identifying what needs to be learned.

Choose a subject in which you lack expertise—one in which you need improvement the most. The next step is to choose a learning activity based on what you need to learn or study from here on out.

3. By self-directed learning, learning objectives are created.
You establish a learning objective for the study program you choose and then use what you learn to achieve it.

4. There are both people and things that can provide resources for learning.
There is a possibility that your uncle can teach you how to change the headlights on your car. Sourdough bread baking instructions can also be found on websites that provide comprehensive information. You are led in different directions as you explore.

5. Self-directed learning involves picking and using the best learning techniques.

After settling on a strategy, you pick the one that fits your learning objectives the best. A book, an online course, or a series of consultations with a specialist might be the answer.

6. The results of self-directed learning are assessed.
What did you learn from your chosen strategies, and how did you learn it? You can choose whether to repeat this lesson or attempt something new by critically analyzing what works and what doesn’t.

Self-Directed Learning
Self-Directed Learning



discovering contracts…

Ensure that students participate actively in the creation of their course unit.
Ask pupils to examine their learning readiness and self-directed learning abilities.
Ensure that pupils are as motivated as possible to study since they have set the agenda.
With clear and concise deadlines, you can keep less autonomous students on track.
A schedule of frequent meetings with the advisor’s teacher may be included.
Encourage student independence so that there would be less demand on instructors’ time.
Provide a systematic framework for the organisation of learning objectives, activities, and goal evaluation to reduce misconceptions and poorly stated expectations.
Plan and facilitate regular reporting on students’ progress.
Allow teachers in the advising faculty to promote the use of a range of resources (such as peers, the library, the community, and experiences).



discovering contracts…

For students accustomed to taking lectures and exams, creating a course could be difficult.
It might not be appropriate for subject matter that pupils are completely unfamiliar with; some initial coaching may be necessary.
As the unit goes on, it could need to be modified. How much alteration is permissible should be carefully considered, and it might be decided at the beginning of each unit.
Demand that teachers rethink their conventional responsibilities and shift from being teachers to advisors.

Responsibilities for the learning contract

Student responsibilities


Describe what you want to learn and how you want to study it in a written learning contract.
Create a thorough schedule that includes time each week for contract tasks.
To acquire the help you require (with, for instance, motivation, resources, feedback, or issues), take the initiative to contact your advising instructor as soon as possible.
Meet with your advising instructor on a regular basis to discuss content and review progress.

Instructor responsibilities

Self-Directed Learning
Self-Directed Learning

help in creating the learning contract and make sure it is complete and of high quality.
Encourage students to use learning resources including books, journals, people, organisations, and library items.
Be a resource for knowledge, but let the student take the initiative to seek for help with their studies.
Meet with the student on a frequent basis to discuss concepts, assess progress, and promote learning.
Analyse the student’s work in accordance with the terms of the learning contract.

Empowering Students Through Learning Contracts


A learning contract is a formal written agreement between a student and their instructor that specifies the behavioural and academic objectives, steps, and duties that the student agrees to do in order to succeed academically.

Using learning contracts can give students more agency since they:

Encourage pupils to evaluate their level of preparedness for learning.
Encourage pupils and promote independent learning.
increase student ownership of their education and sense of responsibility.
Assist students in using effective learning techniques, resources, and practises, as well as constructive learning behaviours.
Teach pupils practical skills like time management and goal-setting.

Components of a Strong Learning Contract


Students should be included in the creation of a learning contract to motivate them to actively devote their time and effort to accomplishing objectives. The following elements ought to be included in a learning contract:

Self-Directed Learning
Self-Directed Learning

Acceptance and Commitment: The agreement may begin with a sentence like this:

I, (name of the student), promise to carry out the tasks outlined in this agreement in order to raise my academic performance.

The signatures of the student, instructor, and (in certain situations) parents must appear at the conclusion of the agreement to acknowledge and agree to its provisions.

objectives: Depending on the students’ preparedness for learning, teachers and students can agree upon and set objectives.

Student Responsibilities:

All the behaviours and activities that the students will take to accomplish their goals should be laid out in the contract. These targets could include:

Mandatory participation
active engagement in class
requesting help from instructors
penalties if conditions are not satisfied
Students should complete the following forms as well:

What activities will be carried out to advance learning?
Resources: What methods, equipment, and materials will be used to accomplish the tasks?
How soon will the work be finished?
How can teachers tell if students have learned something?
How can teachers evaluate student learning?

Teacher Responsibilities:

A good learning contract also describes the teacher’s involvement in assisting students’ learning, such as after-hours assistance, reviewing the content, clarifying the knowledge, or sending out reminders or alerts for missed assignments.

The inclusion of instructors’ duties highlights the collaborative aspect of the contract and encourages students to approach teachers more openly for help and support.

Teachers can work with the class as a whole to create a basic overview of learning objectives that all students can adhere to while drafting the contract. Then, teachers may have individual meetings with each student to address their needs and set their own objectives.

Thus, learning contracts assist teachers in differentiating instruction based on students’ aptitudes and levels of learning preparedness. Contracts simultaneously provide students greater power since they increase their responsibility and deepen their dedication to the learning process.

Steps Of A Learning Contract

1. The purpose statement. The contract begins with a sentence outlining the justification for its implementation. I’m participating in this learning contract because I want to raise my marks and pass this course, for example.

2. Students’ Deeds. The contract outlines any commitments the student is making to carry out in order to succeed in the course. Suitable benchmarks for learning contract items may be attendance, involvement in class, completion of assignments or homework, asking for teacher assistance, etc.

3. Instructor Behaviour. A section outlining the steps the teacher commits to do to help the student can be included to the learning contract to make it stronger.

For instance, the contract may specify that the teacher will respond to emails from students with course-related queries within 24 hours or that they would check regularly to see if any assignments are due and notify the student. The inclusion of teacher obligations in the contract highlights the fact that success in the course is a joint effort and might encourage the student to utilise instructor support services that might otherwise go unnoticed.

4. Finalise. The learning contract is signed by the teacher and the student. If the parent participated in the contract’s creation, they must sign it as well. The student’s signature in particular denotes a voluntary acceptance of the learning contract and a public commitment to uphold its terms because this document is a type of “promissory contract.”

Why should you try self-directed learning?

If you like taking responsibility for what you learn, self-directed learning might be the right way to go. It allows you to learn at your own pace, and you can apply what you learn in your own environment.

Self-directed learning supports your continuous growth


Lifelong learning provides motivation, new experiences, accomplishment, and great stories to share with others.

Self-Directed Learning
Self-Directed Learning

How to Put Self-Directed Learning to Work in Your Classroom


The most recent craze in education is not self-directed learning. It is a natural road to profound comprehension and effectiveness and has existed since the origins of cognitive development (Aristotle and Socrates). We can give kids a more fulfilling learning experience that goes beyond the memorization of information by being aware of the ways that self-directed learning can manifest in the classroom and utilizing it as an essential component of how we learn. We constantly engage in self-directed learning.

How Can I Use It?


There are a number of strategies instructors and parents can employ to foster greater ownership and responsibility in students and assist them in forging their own learning paths, regardless of how you decide to incorporate self-directed learning into your learning community:

Thinking Critically

The capacity to be aware of oneself and the world around us and to genuinely enquire about both is the most important tool for self-directed learning. Robert Ennis described critical thinking as “Reasonable, reflective thinking that is focused on deciding what to believe or do” (Ennis, 1996, p.166), despite the fact that there are numerous views of what it is and does. Critical thinking is frequently used in the classroom as the 5 Ws and the H (What, Why, Who, When, Where, Why, and How) by teachers.

But asking questions is just one aspect of being a critical thinker who is accountable for one’s own learning. These are all more in-depth aspects of critical thinking:

Self-interest awareness and action
Being open to new sources of information and viewpoints and taking the legitimacy of the content into consideration
Continuing to build on the fusion of thoughts, knowledge, and fresh insights

How can I use this in the classroom?


Activities that develop Design Thinking are an excellent method to encourage tools for learning rather than instructing kids on how to do it. Provide students with opportunities to create their own content-related critical questions in the classroom. What do you think you need to know about this knowledge, event, perspective, etc.? is a good place to start.
or “What inquiries can be made to elicit fresh data and viewpoints on this subject?” Self-Directed Learning

Locating Resources


It can be challenging for kids to decide where to begin studying when they exhibit an interest in a certain subject, skill, or event. New questions arise and new resources are required as pupils advance and their learning changes. Resources might include information and media, access to learning programs, advisors or mentors with knowledge in a particular profession, methods and steps to unlock cognitive scaffolding, and information and media.

Finding resources and learning about new opportunities is an infectious experience. Students will resume the cycle of learning and figuring things out on their own as long as they feel proud of themselves for doing so.


How can I use this in the classroom?


For instance, if a kid exhibits an interest in languages, the school curriculum will direct the student to a language course; yet, a course is not sufficient to truly experience the language and achieve proficiency. To fully engage in the process that goes beyond comprehension and analysis, students need more information. If they know how and where to find them, they can tap into a wealth of resources. They can find excellent free online resources like Duolingo, travel possibilities like AFS, or a peer group in their neighborhood who speak the target language.

One area of focus is language. The open education movement includes additional beneficial platforms for opportunities for self-directed learning. The Open Education Resource Commons (OER) ( is a hive of books, academic articles, teaching resources, and free online courses offered by respectable schools. The usage of any OER materials is free and does not call for authorization. For pupils who do not have access to privileges, this is tremendously helpful.

Self-Directed Learning
Self-Directed Learning

Gathering Information

Although fake news, sensationalized by the media, is not necessarily a recent phenomenon, it is spreading at an alarming rate because to the Internet of Things. Effective self-directed learning requires students to be able to think critically, discover sources of information, and analyze those sources. However, if students lack these skills, they may end themselves on confusing paths. Sites like Facebook have started analyzing the sources of news on social media to assist the public in meeting this demand. Other websites, like Snopes, serve as online fact checkers to debunk false information. Self-directed learners shouldn’t rely on larger sources to complete their homework for them, even though these measures may be helpful. Keep in mind that even bogus news has sources that are people’s opinions and that shape their reality. Self-Directed Learning

How can I use this in the classroom?


By not only accepting the information given, you can study the origin and effects of other viewpoints. Self-directed learners should develop their own methods for experiencing information and think about the implications of basing opinions and viewpoints on it. What may this appear like in a classroom setting?

making exercises that assist kids with weighing outcomes and accounting for potential outcomes
Recognizing various viewpoints with Mind Mapping or Infographics
Students benefit by comparing and contrasting their maps in order to recognize differences.
It is possible to study the emotional meanings and impacts on social settings and the general surroundings by using reflective approaches like journaling and conversation.

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