This site will look much better in a browser that supports web standards, but it is accessible to any browser or Internet device.

Skip Navigation skip menu and banner
University of Wyoming

Self-Directed Learning

Self-Direction as a Personal Attribute

"I have never been afraid to learn new things. Perhaps that is my greatest gift as a teacher- to be able to model lifelong learning."

Pam Lloyd, teacher

Autonomy and Self-Directedness

Chene (1993) describes autonomous learners as independent, able to make choices and critical judgements, and able to move within the learning community.  A strong value/belief system gives autonomous learners willpower and self-discipline (Candy, 1991).  Adults naturally move toward self-directedness, but at different speeds in different situations.  Factors influencing adults to behave autonomously are:

(1) their technical skills

(2) their familiarity with the subject

(3) their feelings of competence

(4) their commitment to learning

Self-Directed Learners and Homonomy

In addition to autonomoy, Boucouvalas would add the concept of homonomy to the definition of selfhood.  Homonomy is the experience of being part of a meaningful whole, such as families, social groups and culture.  Some proponents feel homonomy may explain the collaborative aspects of self-directed learning--teamwork and peer networks.

Readiness and Self-Directed Learners

Guglielmino defines readiness for Self-Directed Learning as a complex set of attitudes, values, and abilities creating the likelihood that someone is capable of Self-Directed Learning.  She developed the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS), a somewhat controversial qualitative measure of Self-Directed Learning.