7 March 2011

Learning Autonomy

Ideasphoto © 2009 Hartwig HKD | more info (via: Wylio)
Education takes on different shades of meaning,  depending on the point in time and the different contexts where education takes place.

Generally speaking though, we can consider education being concerned with developing the human capacity of knowing, understanding, making critical choices, and behaving intelligently. Education in a broad sense is being able to conceptualize problems and how to find possible solutions. It is making sense of experiences, whether of one's own or of others (for example, through literature). 

However one wishes to perceive education, one always returns to learning processes. In turn, learning somehow transforms us and how we see and value things in life. As Richard Pring explains, " Educational experiences do not leave people as they were". 

The Kindle Gazer, after Lilla Cabot PerryBut what happens when this learning process centers on autonomy and learning independence? Why should learners be encouraged to become autonomous in their learning? Education today includes more choices - we can exercise autonomy as to what to learn, where to learn and how to learn.

Reflecting on what makes an autonomous learner succeed, or rather, what characteristics an autonomous learner has, becomes necessary so that other learners may also share those skills or characteristics. In a recent posting, Jenny Mackness raises these issues and shares her insights into autonomous learning by questioning the characteristics an autonomous learner should have (CCK11 Characteristics of an autonomous learner).

When reflecting on learning processes, one inevitably asks questions as to the role of the learner and the teacher. Is the teacher to be a source of information or a facilitator in the learning process? In an age where boundaries are quickly evaporating with the spread of learning networks and increasing open sources of knowledge, making choices as to what kind of learning habits should be encouraged, is an issue which will not simply go away.



How do you encourage learning autonomy?

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