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Self-directed education is not at all a new concept. Some of the famous and respected historical figures such as Plato, Aristotle, Alexander the Great, Rene Descartes and Julius Caesar owe much of their knowledge to self-study and being an autodidact (self-teacher).

Again, it’s the educators in the higher education sector to have an important role to play in nurturing self-directed or independent learners.


It was also mentioned that not all Malaysian educators have accepted their role as facilitators of learning as educators are again not given proper training and exposure on the mentioned subjects.

For Malaysian educators, most will have to follow the instructions given by the Ministry and through tight monitoring by the inspectorates and the auditors what can educators do.Our Malaysian education uses the MOOC as a parcel to self-directed learning. In primary and secondary schools, vLE Frog helps in the SDL, while Moodle is used for tertiary learning.

A lot of people have to rely on themselves by learning on their own since institutions offering formal education were rare or hardly affordable to all social classes.

Gibbons (2002) defined  SDL has been defined as the enhancement of knowledge, skill, or accomplishment that a learner opts for and brings about with his own efforts in any way, in any circumstance, at any time.

The self-directed learner takes the initiative to know his individual learning needs and seeks out the resources and methods that would satisfy these learning needs.

Apart from that, the modern concept of self-directed learning already involves various strategies that aid the learning process and subsequently assess or evaluate the outcome.

I think self study may either be studying through books, some online journals or using tutorials to learn a particular topic, self study is an individual effort to learn by references/experimentation or a prescribed course.

But for those who still think that learning can only happen in a classroom, the world of self-learning can be a little can be really absurd or useless for them.

The current trend for self and social learning has some scholars and analysts wondering if we are approaching towards the end of formal learning techniques and conventional teaching methods.

There will always be a need to train people to acquire first-time skills or to upgrade their current skill set, learning and development professionals will increasingly consider the option of leaving some learning needs to other non formal approaches.

But if people are to start learning by themselves, we first need to be sure that everyone is competent to learn to and the effectiveness of the learning process be determined by the content used in.

Self learning is a bit like getting a toddler driving to a destination and not knowing how to drive. Meta-cognition is one thing but guidance is another.

A self-guided student has to have a pretty definite idea of what he or she has to learn and where to find the learning material if the learning goal is to be achieved.

I had been trying out the PdPc approach (Pengajaran dan Pemudahcaraan); it may be equivalent to student-centered approach but my students prefer the teacher-centered approach.

I had also found out that we had wasted a lot of time and can be demotivating. Students feel lost in looking for unrelated learning material that may not be relevant.

The demotivating power of this can mean that the student gives up when they may have the conscientiousness and ability to learn what’s needed and is calling back for the teacher-centered approach.

Even providing guidelines built in at each step of learning and landmark checklists and tests doesn’t help enough.

A self-taught student who achieves the needed learning has to be near genius and a skilled learner. There are very few who have these talents.

So who wins and losses with self-directed online learning? It is the participating student who reaps both the advantages and drawbacks from this type of approach.

But given the contributions of self-directed online learning to open education, it must be a “win” situation for the learner.

The only ultimately loses is one does not keep up the right attitude to maintaining a sustainable level of self-motivation and discipline until the end of the course.


Azizi Ahmad The NST Letters 18 September 2018

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