An Analysis of the Characteristics of Self-Directed Learners and Strategies to Enhance Self-Directed Learning in Education Systems: Transcending Boundaries


Education can allow individuals to transcend boundaries of space, identity, and culture by empowering learners with the ability to pursue self-directed, lifelong learning. Valuable new meanings and understandings can be created by the interaction between self-motivated, self-directed learners, communities, and a wide range of organizations (Rogers, 2004). A shift away from traditional, teacher-centered power relations towards learner-centered approaches can significantly enhance learning and create the intrinsic motivation necessary to enable effective, dynamic, lifelong learning processes. Intrinsic motivation is an essential element of self-directed learning (Cross, 1992). Self-directed learners are skilled at teaching others and at overcoming barriers to communication and mutual understanding. Self-motivated learners understand the viewpoints of other learners and are skillful at sharing experiences and knowledge (Kalantzis, 2003). Mentors play a useful role as guides and advisors in self-directed learning. One of the most important, fundamental goals of education may be to create the conditions that lead to intrinsic motivation and a lifetime of self-directed learning (Lewis, 1995). Self-directed learning is becoming increasingly important in the global economy and international society and is associated with adult learners that exhibit common characteristics. Self-reflection is a key aspect of lifelong learning and leads to a better understanding of one's own strengths and weaknesses. Self-directed learners are engaged emotionally in the learning process and are able to monitor and adjust their own learning. Learner-centered learning strategies can be employed to enhance and promote the traits of self-directed learners and lifelong learning for the benefit of individuals and society.

Author Information
Nathaniel Edwards, Yamaguchi University, Japan

Paper Information
Conference: ACE2015
Stream: Adult and lifelong learning

This paper is part of the ACE2015 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon