Dec 28

Self-Directed and Engaged Learning Goals

Engaged, motivated and self-directed training is primarily leveraging off the efforts within the educational system.

I am taking this approach and applying it to adults within the business community. This may not be for everyone within your organization; however, most likely there is a subset of employees who are creative and highly experiential learners. Bringing them together within a team-approach, could well develop an underused and undervalued existing resource.

In the late 1980’s national attention began to focus on the quality and outcomes of university classroom teaching. These include “Active Learning” (Ebert-May et al. 1997, Tanenbaum et al. 1998), “Collaborative Learning” (Tanenbaum et al. 1998), “Cooperative Learning” (Johnson and Johnson, Herried 1998, Lancaster and Strand 2001), Problem-Based Learning” (Edens 2000, Major and Palmer 2001) and “Small Group Teaching” (Rubin and Herbert 1998, Potthast 1999).

Collectively these techniques emphasize:

  • Self-directed student learning,
  • Cooperative learning in small student groups,
  • Trainers as facilitators, guides and coaches,
  • Problems, critical questions, and case studies as the organizing focus and stimulus for learning,
  • Problems, critical questions and case studies forming the basis for a comprehensive understanding of the subject matter,
  • Acquisition of critical thinking, speaking and writing skills.

The body of research and evaluation investigating these teaching methods has revealed higher achievement and productivity (Potthast 1999, Alexander 2000, Herreid 1998, Lake 2001) relative to traditional teaching models of lecture-based individualistic learning. According to the literature and Harris and Johnson’s experiences students (employees) can be expected to:


  • Acquire enhanced problem-solving skills,
  • Develop self-directed learning skills,
  • Develop the ability to find and use appropriate resources,
  • Develop critical thinking skills,
  • Develop a measurable knowledge base,
  • Demonstrate increased performance,
  • Enhance social and ethical skills through team work,
  • Achieve greater psychological health and higher self-esteem,
  • Become more self-motivated,
  • Develop oral and written communication skills,
  • Develop proactive thinking,
  • Develop academic skills in congruence with workplace skills.