Fostering Opportunities for Self-Direction in Adult Learning

This part turns to notions regarding how various opportunities for self-direction need to be fostered or addressed. Most facilitators of adult learning and, indeed, many adults will bump up against various barriers, dilemmas, or issues that inhibit self-direction or the taking of personal responsibility. Four chapters are included that focus on some of the most important of these.

Chapter Eight, Institutional Perspectives on Self-direction in Learning, describes how self-direction in learning takes place in various institutional locations and how it is inhibited or limited in others. For example, a variety of community agencies or entities, such a libraries and museums, are described in terms of their potential for educational pursuits. Various educational institutions with existing programs that promote self-direction are detailed. The chapter also provides an analysis of the types of barriers that do exist which limit such learning.

The next chapter, Nine, describes some of the policy issues that are associated with efforts to foster self-directed learning. An attempt to address some of these issues through a workshop involving adult learners is detailed. Fourteen policy recommendations centered around adults as learners, adult educators, and adult education agencies are included.

The Tenth chapter focuses on an examination of self-direction in learning from a global perspective. Based on reviews of available literature or interviews with adult educators from countries other than the United States, the self-directed learning situation in various countries around the world is presented. The chapter concludes with some recommendations on the further work that is needed to obtain a more thorough understanding of global perspectives.

Chapter Eleven, Ethical Dilemmas in Self-Direction, focuses on an exploration of the potential ethical dilemmas or conflicts inherent in fostering self-direction. The chapter starts with an overview of the current literature and thinking regarding ethics in adult education. It also includes the thinking that emanated from a workshop that involved several adult learners. Several principles were derived during the workshop. The chapter also describes numerous ethical dilemmas and presents some ways of dealing with them.


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