Self-directed learning is a concept that allows students to take responsibility for their own learning and create the direction in which their learning will take. As an instructor, self-directed learning requires that we act as a facilitator to guide and support the student in meeting their learning needs.
A great resource on self-directed learning and the facilitating of self-directed learners is available on the webpage of the Centre for Teaching Excellence at the University of Waterloo.
This resource outlines the steps required in the process of self-directed learning. This article will improve my instruction and it could likely improve your instruction too if you are interested in developing self-directed learners in your course.
The four steps, being ready to learn, setting learning goals, engaging in the learning process, and evaluating learning are steps that the student would take as a self-directed learner, and as an instructor I can use this information to support and encourage the student in their learning. This will definitely help me improve as an instructor as I can use these steps to evaluate how ready or capable a student is to be a self-directed learner and I can also refer back to them to evaluate the student’s progress, to ensure they are working through the steps so that they can ultimately achieve the learning goals they set for themselves.