Self-Directed Learning: Materials & Strategies

June 14-26 WORKSHOP

Self-directed learning covers a range of contexts, from pure self-instruction (with no teacher and no class) to regular classes in which teachers encourage learners to take charge of their own learning. Self-directed learning offers great potential for the extension of instructional resources, especially for the less commonly taught languages (LCTLs). Growing enrollments have resulted in increased demand for educational resources in these languages but the wide geographical dispersal of the LCTL populations of learners makes it difficult to meet their needs through traditional classroom-based or distance-based education. Therefore, it is especially important that learners of these languages take responsibility for some or even all of their own learning. It has also been argued that taking charge of one's own learning leads to self-empowerment and that all learning is ultimately autonomous in the sense that it depends on the efforts of the learners themselves.

The workshop provided participants with tools and techniques for promoting learner autonomy through:

  • Incorporating training in the use of cognitive and metacognitive strategies into the language curriculum
  • Creating environments that enable students to self-direct their learning by setting objectives, planning, organizing and completing tasks, and finding solutions to problems
  • Developing techniques for student self-monitoring through self-assessment
  • Making effective use of Web-based and other resources to support self-directed learning
  • Developing self-access Web-based materials and resources

The workshop culminated with the June 24-26 Symposium, which facilitated the sharing of resources, ideas, and information about all aspects of learner autonomy.

SYMPOSIUM - June 24-26, 1999

The three-day Symposium facilitated the sharing of resources, ideas, and information about all aspects of learner autonomy through papers, panels, and demonstrations on such topics as:

  • Empowering the learner through development of cognitive and metacognitive strategies
  • Creating pedagogical environments for learner autonomy
  • Learner autonomy and the use of technology
  • Learner autonomy and less commonly taught languages
  • Monitoring and self-assessment
  • Self-access materials and resources

It is a goal of the Symposium to facilitate communication and collaboration so that national initiatives can continue beyond the Institute.