May 1, 2020

 At some point I will say, “I remember that week.”  On a Wednesday I stood at “meet the team night” at my daughter’s high school while we recognized all of the Spring sports teams.  That day I had learned that the college where I am an associate professor made the decision to go to completely online for class learning for a three-week span.  I sat in the stands and listened to all of the names of the Spring athletes be called and there was joy, as there always is when you see your child and their friends be recognized. 

Yes, there was a joy, but it was shadowed by my healthcare professoriate identity that knew the decisions at the higher education level would very quickly trickle down to impact high school students.  Two days later my daughter walked in the door and poignantly said, “I wonder if that is the last day that I will have class at my high school.”  It hit me like a brick.  I had not taken a picture of her when she walked out of the door in the morning.  I coul...

March 25, 2020

Imagine….a world being swept by a pandemic of unprecedented proportions. The surge and contagion of the illness force nations and local governments to levy isolation and shut down non-essential business and activities. Citizens urged to keep to their homes and operate via technology as a connection to society. A reality where schools close for an indefinite period of time. Not just “one” school, not just schools in a particular region, but nationally and globally, a coordinated physical shut down is carried out of primary, secondary, and post-secondary educational institutions. No students on the majority of campuses anywhere. Teachers and learners are all relegated to remote learning, with most institutions attempting to deliver instruction via both synchronous and asynchronous virtual technologies.  No bells, no schedules, no mandated and proctored assessments, nor credit/clock hour requirements to attend to. How would parents and caregivers manage? How would teachers and professors...

March 1, 2020

I had the honor and privilege of working with Malcolm Knowles in 1972 as we developed a 30-minute video in cooperation with the Nebraska Education Television Council for Higher Education regarding his work in introducing the concept of “andragogy” to people in the United States. It aired periodically on the Nebraska Public Television network that year and then was available for viewing for several years after that. This interview with Malcolm provides a wonderful glance into both the thinking of Malcolm and how he initiated for many an understanding of self-directed learning. In light of both the Society’s new definition of SDL and our continued recognition of the value in honoring Malcolm’s 1975 definition, I recommend viewing this vintage video.   

At the 33rd International Self-Directed Learning Symposium in 2019, attendees requested that the ISSDL (through its board) develop a definition of SDL thereby helping scholars to differentiate what is and is not SDL-related practice, research, and theory. Thus, Naomi Boyer and Kelly McCarthy led a session titled Defining SDL: The Process at the 2020 symposium. 

Fueled by presymposium input in response to a September 11, 2019, blog request and survey, Naomi and Kelly challenged attendees to work in groups and offer definitions consistent with this input with iterative feedback, discussion, revisions, and voting that transpired over 3 days. At the end of this process, two definitions received a preponderance of the votes—one was created by attendees whereas the other was the 1975 definition by Malcolm Knowles—that were then considered at the symposium’s board meeting. Taking part in this spirited board discussion was Naomi Boyer, Ralph Brockett, Lucy Guglielmino, Roger Hiemstra, Lila Holt...

January 28, 2020

What does the IRS have to do with Self-Directed Learning, and why am I writing about tax deductible donations on the blog page for the International Society for Self-Directed learning?

Let’s start with Self-Directed Learning (SDL). If you are a frequent visitor to this site, then you know the value of SDL in business, education, medicine, and society in general. You know the value employers place on self-directed learners. And you know the International Society for Self-Directed Learning (ISDSL) is a leader in promoting SDL in institutions and individuals.

Why is this important to me? Years ago, while leading a small non-profit organization serving underserved children, I realized I didn’t know enough about the accounting and tax reporting process to be as effective as I could be. Self-direction skills helped me to learn how to form a non-profit organization and obtain tax-exempt status from the IRS. As is a typical of self-directed learners, I did research, sought out experts, and took...

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


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