The “why” of self-directed learning is survival—your own survival as an individual, and also the survival of the human race. Clearly, we are not talking here about something that would be nice or desirable….We are talking about a basic human competence—the ability to learn on one’s own—that has suddenly become a prerequisite for living in this new world. – Malcom Knowles, 1975
While lifelong learning and self-directed learning are not equivalent, they overlap substantially. I think the following points apply equally to both. The successful lifelong learner is someone who:
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I’ve been a little heavy on the research-driven posts lately, so I thought I’d throw in a personal story for this post with the hope that other lifelong learners might find some small consolation and – just possibly – inspiration in it.
So, here it is:
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It’s been years since Malcolm Knowles, considered by many to be the “father of adult learning,” articulated a set of six principles – or “assumptions,” as he put it – about how adults tend to learn differently from children. While anyone who is serious about creating and facilitating effective adult learning experiences should already be familiar with these principles, I’m willing to bet that the average adult learner, to whom they apply, has never heard of either Knowles or his assumptions. I think it is worth knowing them, though, as a way to become more conscious of and deliberate in your own learning efforts.
So, in this post I offer an overview of Knowles’ six adult learning principles reframed for use by lifelong learners. Read more >>