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Wecome to Scott's mini-Wiki Professional Development. The purpose of this mini course is to explore ways instructional designers and instructors can enhance the skills learners need for successful self-directed learning.
As we progress into the 21st century, individuals will be required to know how to learn. Individuals, both students and workers, will be required to identify a problem, research potential solutions, and solve problems. Individuals in the 21st century will be required to build and use knowledge. The growth of the Internet and the ever changing capacity of computers puts knowledge at the finger tips of all individuals. The challenge, however, is how to independently access the knowledge and learn new skills.
Computer-based applications and distance learning are touted as opportunities for individuals to access new knowledge and learn new skills. The reality is that some individuals are able to independently access the information while others cannot.
Understanding the characteristics of self-directed learning will provide instructional designers and instructors insight into how we can foster the skills needed for successful self-directed learning.
Below is background information on the creation of this mini-course.
The mission of my organization is "to promote the social and economic well being of the academically and economically under-served residents of the State of New York by developing and maintaining quality educational and workforce training programs and services". Traditionally, the educational programs and services were classroom-based and limited by brick and mortar. During the past several years, the organization has enhanced its statewide infrastructure through a significant investment in technology. Recently the organization has announced its plan to offer distance learning opportunities for students.
Distance learning offers learners the opportunity access instruction anytime and any place. Due to the independent nature of distance learning, one of the most critical aspects for effective learning is ensuring learner self-regulation. How do instructional designers create distance learning opportunities that build in mechanisms to cultivate and support independent learners? How do we ensure students are on track with the acquisition of knowledge? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in this mini-course.
The implementation of the distance learning model will be involve a wide range of participants including state-level managers, local program managers, and local instructional staff. Across each group, there is a wide range of educational backgrounds and experience.
The characteristics of the state-level managers and local program managers include:
- minimum education-levels of at least a graduate degree in the fields of education, counseling, and administration
- significant work experience in the education sector as instructors and administrators
- moderate research backgrounds
- moderate experience with distance learning environments
- moderate comfort level with current technology
The characteristics of the local instructional staff include:
- minimum educational levels of at least a bachelor's degree
- significant experience designing and delivering instruction for youth (outside of K-12) and for adults
- limited experience with distance learning environments
Please click here is view a pdf version of the curriculum map.Media:curriculum map.pdf
There are several key factors that influenced the development of the mini-course on preparing students for self-directed learning. The first factor was to provide participants with an opportunity to consider their readiness for self-directed learning. The intent was to personalize the discussion concerning the skills needed for successful self-directed learning so that the participants would gain a better appreciation for what skills are necessary. The second factor was to provide a brief summary of the research. Typically, participants indicate that they are too busy to read research and journal articles and to try to apply the content to their work. The intent of the brief summary was to expose participants to the research and highlight the salient points. In addition, key articles were provided so that the participants could easily access additional information. The third important consideration for the design of this mini-course was to have participants try it out. By having participants modify an existing lesson, it helped demonstrate the ease of modifying and enhancing lessons to accommodate the new skills that should be developed.
Go to the Mini-Course
To view the mini-course please click the following link Preparing Students for Self-Directed Learning
Just for Fun
This is a photograph of a toy that was recently recalled!