Learning independently can be challenging, even for the brightest and most motivated students. Stages to independent learning, known as self-directed learning

  1. Being ready to learn
  2. Setting learning goals
  3. Engaging in the learning process
  4. Evaluating learning.

Learning contracts generally include:

  • Goals for the unit of study
  • Structure and sequence of activities
  • Timeline for completion of activities
  • Details about resource materials for each goal
  • Details about grading procedures
  • Feedback and evaluation as each goal is completed
  • Meeting plan with the advising instructor
  • Agreement of unit policies, such as a policy on late assignments.

Students also need to understand their approach to studying:

  • A deep approach- This approach is about understanding ideas for yourself, applying knowledge to new situations and using novel examples to explain a concept.
  • A surface approach
  • A strategic approach

To support this self-evaluation process, they should:

  • Regularly consult with the advising instructor,
  • Seek feedback, and
  • Engage in reflection of their achievements

Students’ roles:

  • Self-assess your readiness to learn
  • Define your learning goals and develop a learning contract
  • Monitor your learning process
  • Take initiative for all stages of the learning process be self-motivated
  • Re-evaluate and alter goals as required during your unit of study
  • Consult with your advising instructor as required.

Advising instructors’ roles:

  • Build a co-operative learning environment
  • Help to motivate and direct the students’ learning experience
  • Facilitate students’ initiatives for learning
  • Be available for consultations as appropriate during the learning process
  • Serve as an advisor rather than a formal instructor
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