So what exactly is the ‘official’ definition of an autonomous learner? There is tons of literature out there on the general and specific definitions but here’s one I find concise enough to sum it up – A self-directed learner (autonomous learner) can be summed up as someone who is highly confident of their ability to learn which enables them to study entirely on their own, acquire a set of learning which can be learned and applied in self-directed learning, take charge of an inborn capacity which is suppressed by institutional education, take responsibility for the methods, measures and achievements of their learning goals and is capable of recognizing their right to determine the direction of their own learning.[i]
Taking responsibility for our learning – making informed decisions.
These ideals seem very lofty and unattainable. However, there is a possibility it sounds that way because we are products of a “Boxed in School of Thought”. - So what does Prof. Confessore’s area of expertise in self-directed learning mean for parents who are looking for alternatives beyond schooling?
The theories of SDL (self-directed learning) provide a general direction that can lead to sought after answers for parents who need to have some ground to touch about the validity of learning that goes beyond traditional schooling.
There has always been a canyon that divides the inroads made in academic research and its applications in the general populace those studies are supposed to benefit. It does seem unfortunate that it takes decades before we could apply what research has discovered to benefit the development of ourselves and especially that of our children. Generations of young learners would have forgone a window of opportunity for learning. Not only that, the core-beliefs they cultivated about themselves as learners due to ineffective teaching can further impede their own chances of later becoming a self-directed learner.
Focus on solutions : Does autonomous learning mean to get rid of the teacher and textbooks?