The learner is neither independent or dependent, but interdependent, forming new understanding through dialogue, feedback, and reflection with fellow leamers and facilitators. (Kerka, 1994)
Self-directed learning does not mean learning in isolation. Sometimes on the bus we are by ourselves reading or doing research at a library, we are also learning informally and adding to our personal store of prior knowledge and experience when we are preparing to shop and cook a meal together, or day hiking with a group.
One may or may not be “naturally” self-directed. We may have become habituated by the educational system – and the larger culture – we have been immersed in to look to others for expertise or to serve as the source and motivator for learning. Becoming more self-directed may be a process that involves learning to set one’s own learning goals, developing self discipline, becoming familiar with ones preferred learning styles or approaches, learning how to be critically self reflective, or developing the ability to realistically evaluate one’s progress.
The form of independent study on the bus requires a deeper approach to learning than most arrive with on the program. Students will come to understand and be able to apply knowledge to new situations. They learn to generate their own connections and be their own motivators with the support of peers and advisors.
*Reference: Kerka, S. (1994). Self Directed Learning: Myths and Realities. Eric: 3-4. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED365818.pdf