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Self Directed Learning


Self-Directed Learning is an increase in knowledge, skill or performance pursued by any individual for personal reasons, employing any means, in any place, at any time, at any age.


Students taking ownership of their learning by engaging in their passions.


What is Self-Directed Learning?

We all know students learn better when they are motivated and interested and SDL will provide our students with the opportunity to increase their knowledge, skills and performance by engaging in learning opportunities that interest them. They can make decisions as to what is relevant to their interests and they are encouraged to find their passions.


In a SDL environment the teacher:

  • Teaches students to set their own goals

  • Teaches students the skills and processes involved in setting goals, making plans, initiating action, and self-evaluating

  • Negotiates students proposals for learning and acting

  • Reviews students’ assessment of their work


One-on-one student-teacher conferences will be key learning moments as students will be provided with feedback. The feedback will be relevant to learning achievement, learning styles and the next stages of learning.

Through Self-Directed Learning students will discover their passions and make them part of their educational experiences.


Why Self-Directed Learning?

At Ararat West we are becoming a Self-Directed Learning school because we are passionate about developing the skills and abilities of our students so they can significantly impact our world. Our students will graduate into a frequently changing world. We will make them ready.


Teachers will engage our digital citizens to solve problems through discovery, explore information by asking good questions, collaborate in teams, and create using various methods. These are critical thinking skills that are essential to 21st Century Learners.


Our students will innovate, engage and inspire.


What will Self-Directed Learning look like?

Students at all levels will be operating in a Self-Directed Learning environment. They will be provided with skills and experiences with the intent of developing fully self-directed learners. At each level, Self-Directed Learning will become part of the timetable. During these sessions students will engage in activities of their choice and these authentic learning experiences will be integrated into the curriculum. The traditional classroom will be a thing of the past as students will be able to choose and manipulate the environment to suit their learning needs. When Self-Directed Learning is occurring students are actively involved in their learning experience. 


Timeline for West

Self-Directed Learning has been implemented at Ararat West since 2012. As a school, we have developed a scope and sequence chart that encompasses everything that is involved in SDL. This includes technology, personal development, learning and thinking skills and tools, and assessment strategies.


Across the school, there is a very clear progression in learning to assist our students to become Self Directed Learners.

As a school, we are continually developing our teacher’s skills in Self-Directed Learning and into the future we will be working towards students being completely involved in all aspects of their learning. They will have the ability to talk about their learning, understand what it is they can do, where they want to get to and how they will do it. Teachers will facilitate conferences with students to set goals and direction in all areas of learning.


What the research says

One of the keys to Self-Directed Learning is student conferences. Educational researcher John Hattie identifies feedback as being the number one influence factor for having a positive effect on student learning. Student conferences will be the forum where teachers will be able to provide feedback.


As Self-Directed Learners students will understand themselves as learners like never before. Teachers will provide feedback from assessment data, observations of learning styles and provide students with the skills to plan for future learning. Students will be involved in discussions that will celebrate learning achievement and as well as promoting the value of education for each individual. Hattie also identifies a student’s disposition to learn as having a major effect on student achievement. Student conferences will provide the opportunity to reiterate the importance of striving for success at school.


Part of SDL is adapting the environment to the needs of the students. During SDL activities the traditional classroom setting will disappear as students adapt the environment to suit their learning needs. Again, Hattie identifies an appropriate classroom environment as having a positive effect on student outcomes.

SDL is the future of education.

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