Self-direction has been one of the most exciting topics to emerge relative to adult learning in the past two decades. As a way of introducing the topic, it is stressed that self-direction is not a fad; rather it is a way of life for most adults. In the opening chapter, three hypothetical cases are presented in order to illustrate this point. Also, the chapter includes a look at self-direction throughout history and a discussion of several common myths that have often brought confusion to what self-direction means.

Chapter Two presents a conceptual framework for better understanding the concept of self-direction. There has been much confusion over what is meant by self-direction. In this chapter, the Personal Responsibility Orientation (PRO) model is presented as a tool for better understanding this distinction. The PRO model is premised on the idea that individuals taking personal responsibility for their learning is central to understanding self-direction. From this, it is possible to recognize that self-direction can be seen as both an instructional method (self-directed learning) "and personality characteristic (learner self-direction). Also, the PRO model stresses the importance of understanding the social context in which learning takes place. This model serves as a framework for the remainder of the book.


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