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The International Self-Directed Learning Symposium provides an international forum for the discussion of important current developments in the study and application of self-directed learning. The program design emphasizes presentations of recent research findings, intensive individual participation, and group exploration of problems, issues, and concepts. The symposium offers collaborative space for researchers, theorists, and practitioners to present their work for feedback and elaboration. Program structure includes large group sessions as well as small group interaction opportunities.

Theoreticians and practitioners are invited to submit a one-to-two page proposal for paper, poster, roundtables, practice brief and/or panel concerning self-directed learning among individuals or in any educational context for any age group, including childhood education, higher education, adult education, training and human resource development, or lifelong learning.


Participants have opportunities to learn a variety of procedures and information including (a) the results of recent research on self-direction in learning, (b) new developments in the application of self-directed learning ideas in diverse settings, (c) how to assess employees’ and students’ self-directed learning orientations, and (d) how to develop and strengthen self-directed learning propensities and abilities. In addition, a number of important networks and collaborative relationships have been developed by symposium participants.

Submission Guidelines

1. Papers/posters should be original presentations and not previously published or presented. Proposals should clearly indicate whether the proposal is for a paper, poster, roundtable, practice brief, or panel.


2. Proposals should address aspects of self-directed learning. Some suggested topics include but are not limited to the following:

A. theory, research methods, conceptualizations and self-directed learning applications;

B. self-directed learning in continuing professional education;

C. self-directed learning in distance education;

D. self-directed learning in human resource development (business and industry or in the voluntary and governmental sectors);

E. self-directed learning aspects of lifelong learning; and

F. self-directed learning in any school level (elementary to higher education; professional education).


3. Proposals are one- to two-page abstracts including, as appropriate, Overview, Purpose/Problem, Sample/Population, Instrumentation, Procedures, Major Findings, and Conclusions sections.


4. Proposals are due by October 31, 2022. Notification of proposal acceptance will be made by November 1, 2022. Requests for early acceptance will be honored prior to November 1 for those who need early notification in order to arrange for visas or travel funding.


5. In order to begin your proposal, please complete the following form:

Link to Proposal Submission


6. After completion of the form, you must email your proposal saved in Word Normal format to The proposal should be labeled with the lead author’s last name and the year; for example: Long.2023sym.doc.


The email should also include a head shot of each presenter suitable for a conference program (preferably a jpeg file); note the following:

• Digital camera picture only on the highest resolution setting.

• Head and shoulder shot, looking at the camera, with a plain background if possible.

• If there are religious or social objections to being pictured in the program or having your email in the program, please indicate that on your cover sheet.


Note: If you are preparing a full paper, the Manuscript Submission Guidelines on are very helpful especially with the formatting of tables, figures, and APA references.



Publication Opportunity

After presentation at the Symposium, many participants choose to submit their Symposium papers to the International Journal of Self-Directed Learning for possible refereed publication. Other submissions are also welcomed.


Journal submission questions?  Contact Dr. Michael Ponton

Look for Calls for Papers in 2025!
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