The learner is the heart of the process.
And the learner’s heart is involved in the process. The learners lead the process by determining what matters to them, their interests, curiosity and their goals. Based on what is near and dear to their hearts. The heart must be full of trust that with questioning, hard work, and showing up learning is possible.
Question: start with learner’s questions, curiosity, interests, goals
Learning Project: defined by learner can be many types of projects
Share: document learning, take learning into world, take action, connect
Self-evaluate: reflect, were goals met, criteria, what next?
The learner designs the project, sets goals, determines criteria for mastery or completion, shares the learning, and self-evaluates. The learner selects resources, and can choose to learn with others or ask for instruction or models. The learner can also look for learning communities, online or in local groups. Self-directed learning does not mean learning in isolation or with no support.
So, if you are the learner, or the mentor, you will go through the self-directed learning cycle again and again. Things may not unfold as you foresee. Be open to multiple options and willing to change course.
Be curious about how many different ways there are to learn something. Challenge yourself to find new methods. Be willing to ask.
Expect to encounter challenges, difficulties and confusion at times. Uncertainly and discomfort are part of the growing process. Things outside of your control will get in the way. As in life, sh*t happens when pursuing self-directed learning.
Even with challenges, trust that if you are honest, present, pay attention and listen you can figure out your next step. Apply the steps of the learning process to pretty much any problem you have to solve.
You can do it.
You can help your children go through the process by acting as a supporter and a facilitator. Ask the questions to help them find their own solutions. Model for them the steps to take., help them see how projects can be broken down into chunks. Work with them, don’t do the work for them.
When you teach a child something you take away forever his chance of discovering it for himself. Jean Piaget
Give your child as many opportunities to discover as possible. The self-directed learning cycle can be repeated as needed. Learning can happen anywhere at any time.
So, when I say self-directed learning, this is the basic process I am referring to. I believe you can apply this process, and mindset, to any situation, in or out of school. Of course, the devil is in the details and each situation will be different. The ABC’s of Learning Beyond School and the Raising a Thiel Fellow Tips are available to give you more ideas about applying the process to your life.
I wish you joy and confidence on your learning journey.
Please share this article with a friend who is wondering about unschooling, homeschooling, or any type of self-directed learning.
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How do you approach self-directed learning? What helps make if work for you or your family? What is it that holds you back? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.