September 11, 2019

In preparation for a general, collaborative session at the 34th Annual Self-Directed Learning Symposium in Cocoa Beach, FL, February 5-8, 2020, we are seeking feedback regarding the meaning of "self-direction" in learning. The overarching goal, is for the International Society for Self-Directed Learning to endorse a definition, with supportive descriptive elements. A common epistemology can further our shared work and provide a contribution to the field.

Click here to submit your thoughts

Dont Miss the 34th Symposium 

February 5-8th

Cocoa Beach FL 

February 18, 2019

The 2019 Malcolm Knowles Award for significant lifelong contributions to the field of self-directed learning was presented to Terrence R. Redding at the International Self-Directed Learning Symposium on February 7.  Dr. Redding earned his Ph. D. in Adult Education and Higher Education with a minor in Marketing at the University of Oklahoma in1997, a student of Dr. Huey B. Long. His M. Ed. in Educational Psychology was also from the University of Oklahoma, adding to a B.S. in Education/Business Administration, with honors, from Cameron University.

Dr. Redding’s involvement with self-directed learning spans almost 30 years.  It began when he was a Kellogg Fellow at the University of Oklahoma and a doctoral student of Dr. Huey Long.  In 1991 he co-authored Self-Directed Learning Dissertation Abstracts, 1966-1991 with Dr. Long and completed his doctoral dissertation focusing on SDL in 1997:  Association of Historical Events and the Development of Self-Directed Learning Readiness of Amateur...

January 17, 2018

Award-Winning innovator using problem-based learning, technology, and dedicated SDL time to transform educational institutions at all levels, K-University Educational transformation is daunting, and altering your pedagogy can be overwhelming. At times, it can be difficult to see the benefit of changing your practice. As Founding Principal of Cedars International Next Generation High School, President of Advanced Reasoning In Education (ARIE) and former Founding Principal of Manor New Technology High School, Steven Zipkes is helping K12 schools and universities around the world transform their schools, systems, teaching and leadership practices to meet today’s learners. Schools such as The University of Texas, The University of Miami Ohio, Sam Houston State University (and K12 schools in the US, Australia, Mexico, and China) have benefited from his experience, collaborative approach, and ARIE’s Think Global PBL Academies. He assists in restructuring systems to provide independent, self-...

January 2, 2018

The International Symposium of Self-Directed Learning is next month!  This post is provides a glimpse of one of the topics that will be available.

Badging and Micro-credentials to Cultivate 21st Century Skills

Institutions of higher education are under pressure from industry, government, accrediting bodies, and public opinion to adapt programs and curriculum to provide graduates that have BOTH specific workplace technical skills AND soft/employability skills. The pendulum that swings between professional preparation and liberal arts curriculum to deliver employees with workplace skills elements rarely stabilizes in the juncture of programs that satisfy all “customers” of the educational process.  As markets and industry continue to evolve and emerge, so too do the expectations of business of new hires, which is not a new phenomenon. What is fairly new is the ability to personalize the educational process given current technology, as well as the trend toward the award of micro-credentials...

October 24, 2017

Dr. Mike Ponton, Professor of Education at Regent University, was recently chosen by the editors and former editors of the International Journal of Self-Directed Learning to succeed Dr. Lucy Guglielmino, the founding editor.  The journal, established in 2004, will continue to be published twice a year to provide an up-to-date resource on the most recent research and positive practice in the area of self-directed  learning.

Mike has served ably on the Editorial Board of the IJSDL since 2004, was invited to become an associate editor in 2014 and served as guest editor from 2015-2017.   He has published extensively in the field of self-directed learning in the areas of:

                        •  human agency

                        •  autonomous learning


October 1, 2017

Personalized Learning Plans are all the rage connected to students’ academic goals. They are an easy way for students to engage in goal setting that leads to self-directed learning. Computer controlled plans are nice start, but miss the real value of personalized learning plans for enabling self-directed learning!

Teachers at Forrest Hills Academy, a last chance alternative high school in Atlanta, are taking a different path by tying SDL to helping their students, the hardest to reach in the Atlanta, Georgia system, to become self-directed learners in more ways than academics.  

When middle or high school students are adjudicated to Forrest Hills, an entry team asks each to make exit goals in three areas: pro-social behaviors, academic skills, and learning to learn skills. The student prepares a personalized learning plan (PLP). The PLP will be the center of the student’s exit portfolio which determines readiness to return to the home school.

In each class, the student will complete a PLP...

August 1, 2017

Technology.  One word with such substantial significance, copious meanings, and expansive, pervasive impact.   There are very few who are not affected in some way by some form of technology, whether through the basic advancements around us or directly via interaction with hardware, software, the Internet, social networks, or other means of computing technology. Technology has invaded our lives and become so ubiquitous that we may not be aware of the variety of ways in which we are interfacing with such tools.  ,There are many ways in which technology not only requires, but also facilitates and cultivates self-directed learning. Rather than cite a list of technologies and how each can serve as a tool to transform previously adopted learning assumptions, instead this blog is centered on exploring the role of technology as a catalyst, delivery mechanism, conduit, and gateway to content, access, and knowledge.

The concept of self-direction is not new and originates from the s...

July 2, 2017

After my Ph.D from the University of Michigan in 1970 I started as a professor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Although initially I found success with scholarship, I was not pleased with myself as a teacher. Two things happened in 1972 that helped me change my approach to teaching and the primary focus of my research. I heard Allen Tough give a conference presentation on his work with adults’ learning projects. Then Malcolm Knowles came to our campus and talked about his work with andragogy. Because I had taken a course at the University of Michigan on creating instructional videos, my Chair asked me to work with Malcolm and the Nebraska Education Television Council for Higher Education to create a television segment related to teaching adults.

In preparation for that effort I re-read Malcolm’s book (The Modern Practice of Adult Education), created a plan for what might be covered in a 30 minutes instructional video, and spent 20 minutes with Malcolm prior to the taping. We de...

May 28, 2017

The ISSDL acknowledges with gratitude the many contributions of Dr. Richard Durr, who has been an integral part of the SDL Symposium and the International Society for Self-Directed Learning for more than 25 years. Retiring from the ISSDL Board this year, he will be greatly missed.

A dedicated lifelong learner, Richard evidenced his commitment to SDL early by homeschooling his children.  As a doctoral student at Florida Atlantic University, he authored a dissertation that was carefully crafted to further the emergent research on the connection between self-directed learning and productivity in the workplace. His research answered several questions raised by previous studies and explored new areas, such as varying levels of readiness for SDL among occupational categories (An Examination of Readiness for Self-Directed Learning and Selected Personnel Variables at a Large Midwestern Electronics Development and Manufacturing Corporation, 1992).

His doctoral work was the beginning of 25 years o...