Historically, students have never before been responsible for their own learning beyond what is required to perform well in an exam or test. Neither in school nor at tertiary has self-driven learning been explored – that's not until now says Moses Motha, Teaching and Learning Manager at Rosebank College, a brand of The Independent Institute of Education.
The future of education is made up of students who take learning into their own hands, learners who are motivated to work solo, in groups and online. "Motivation is important, whether intrinsic or extrinsic. Self- driven learning relies largely on intrinsic motivation to propel self-driven learning. This kind of motivation calls for clear goals as well as a well thought out plan," adds Motha.
Self-driven learning requires flexibility, acknowledging what students are interested in while still keeping an eye on the prize says Larry Ferlazzo, a USA based educator and author of Self Driven Learning: Teaching Strategies for Student Motivation.
As education evolves and more and more courses become available online, students will be expected to take learning into their own hands. "This is a glimpse of the fast approaching future," says Motha. "Self-driven learners are learners of the future. They take initiative and responsibility for their learning and assess their own learning progress."
Research shows that self-driven learning produces positive results for learners, making them more motivated, persistent, independent, self-disciplined, self-confident and goal oriented.
"The role of the educator has shifted considerably. Our role now is to help the learner identify a starting point and to act as managers for the learning experience rather than an information provider. To this end we should be teaching inquiry skills, decision making and self‐ evaluation of work skills, while assisting learners to transition from reactive to proactive students," says Motha.
Ferlazzo believes that the standardisation of lessons leave the unfortunate impression that educators don't have time to develop learner capacity as self-driven students. Through online learning and the use of technology, educators are leveraging on the student's ability to become self-propelled. Based on trying this out in the classroom over the years and seeing what works and what doesn't work, Motha believes students are already motivated, educators simply need to follow up on that motivation.
Rosebank College is an educational brand of The Independent Institute of Education (Pty) Ltd which is registered with the Department of Higher Education and Training as a private higher education institution under the Higher Education Act, 1997 (reg. no. 2007/HE07/002). Company registration number: 1987/004754/07.
Written by Karabo Keepile