Self Directed Learning and The Adult Learner

Self Directed Learning and The Adult Learner 

According to the collection of information from the PIDP3 3250 forum for this topic Martha Yan summarizes who an adult learner is;

  • Mature
  • Self-directed
  • Practical
  • Results-oriented
  • Intrinsically-motivated
  • Has high-expectation
  • Slower-learning but learning deeper
  • Has rich experiences
  • Multi-level responsibility.

Adults learn best in a democratic, participatory and collaborative environment. Adults need to be actively involved in determining how and what they will learn, and they need active, not passive, learning experiences.

There are four stages to self directed learning; dependent, interested, involved and self-directed (Grow, 1991). A self-directed learner may not be self-regulated. Self-regulated learning involves the self-awareness, self motivation and behavioral skill to implement that knowledge appropriately.

According to Iran-Nejad and Chissom, there are three sources of self-regulated learning: active/executive, dynamic, and interest-creating discovery model (1992).

According to Winne and Hadwin, self-regulation unfolds over “four flexibly sequenced phases of recursive cognition.” These phases are task perception, goal setting and planning, enacting, and adaptation.


As an educator I would determine what type of learner the learner is , self-directed and the level of self-directedness and or self-regulated. To do this I would have discussions with the learner  or ask the learner to write a bio to dig into the prior knowledge. I would accept the level of learning and use motivational techniques to develop the learner to a higher level of learning.

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