All we really need is us (on Self-Directed Learning)
All we really
need is us…
How to increase the
number of self-directed
learners (SDL) in our
Bert De Coutere
Corporate Universities Summit
Brussels – June 2014
Nice to meet you!
Bert De Coutere lives in Belgium, works for the Center for
Creative Leadership, blogs on homocompetens.blogspot.com
and is a fan of competent people.
that all my
the years had
The plan for today
(from structured to …)
• Bert will share 5 things about self-directed learning
• We’ll introduce ourselves at our tables and reflect on
our own learning ability
• Then we’ll go over the increased importance of SDL and
look at some definitions and models
• We’ll imagine what it would be like to have more SDL in
• Case 1: the Quantified Self movement
• Then we’ll list the ‘ingredients’ of successful learning
• Case 2: MOOCs and the LeaderMOOC experience
• Let’s experience SDL at our table groups
• What is the one action we will take after this workshop
to increase the level of SDL in our organization?
been saying for
wanted to put
learners in the
What’s in a
Do you need
Let’s give you
• DIY Learning
• Learning Agility
Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is “a process in which individuals
take the initiative, with or without the help of others, to
diagnose their learning needs, formulate learning goals,
identify resources for learning, select and implement learning
strategies, and evaluate learning outcomes”.
Knowles also provided the following characteristics for SDL:
(a) self-directed learning assumes that humans grow in
capacity and need to be self-directing;
(b) learners' experiences are rich resources for learning;
(c) Individuals learn what is required to perform their
evolving life tasks;
(d) an adult's natural orientation is task or problem-centered
(e) self-directed learners are motivated by various internal
incentives, such as need for self-esteem, curiosity, desire
to achieve, and satisfaction of accomplishment
“the degree of choice that learners have within
an instructional situation.” “open-ended
opposite of “dependent” learning.” (Grow,
Self-regulation abilities include goal setting,
self-monitoring, self-instruction and self-
Poll – What do you estimate is
the % of people in your
organisation that is currently
capable of SDL?
Poll – What might that %
become in the future? (eg in
two years time)
Envelope 2 –
Imagine all the
How would your organization look like
when it had more SDL learners?
1. Spread out the Visual Explorer ™ cards on
2. Individually, pick a card that for you best
anwers the question “How would your
organization look like when it had more
SDL learners?” (Hint: It helps to do this in
silence. Sometimes people say that the
‘card picked them’.
3. Individually, take a minute to write down
what you see in the picture, why you
selected it. What are the benefits you see
of an environment with more SDL
4. Now with your neighbour, discuss why you
picked the card and what you see in the
picture. Let your neighbour also comment
on what he or she sees additionally in
5. Swap roles – now your neighbour shows
their card and explains and you add
comments what you see in their card.
6. If time permits, repeat for other people
on the table.
Poll – So, what were some of
the benefits of SDL you could
Case 1: The
• What did you do?
• Why did you do it?
• What did you learn?
Case 1: The
• So where is the
What do we need to be able to
learn? What does it take to drive
our own learning?
1. This envelop contains models
of learning and various hints to
explore. You may or may not
find it useful to discuss some
of the material.
2. Have a discussion with the
entire table on the questions
above. Take note of the
‘ingredients of learning’.
Poll – What does it take to
drive your own learning?
it is not enough
It is really about
own process for
Case 2: MOOCs
What did we
learn from our
What we learned from our pilot.
Nothing really new, just more of it.
What we learned from our pilot.
(Warning: limited audience interaction ahead.)
The answer to life, the
universe and everything.
The raw data
M for massive dropouts
How far can we go?
Show me the money
In search of a business
It’s what you do with it.
Maybe this will work.
M for massive work
No traffic jams on the
The cult of the wicker-man.
• How do other people
do it? What are best
• Identify actions YOU
can take to grow SDL
in yourself or your
Poll – What is one action you
will take to increase SDL in your
Let’s end this
Give a man a fish and you
feed him for a day.
Teach a man to fish and
you feed him for a lifetime.
Make a man a better
learner and he’ll have a
varied menu for the rest of