Module 4: Independent Learning

The module began with a debate surrounding what Independent Learning is. Alongside a significant amount of literature, I sought to get a wide perspective on the topic. To do this I hosted #ukedchat on Thursday, 13 October 2011, where I asked the question: Can we really helper students to become independent learners or are there too many constraints? This helped me to evolve my thinking on the topic and provided useful insights at different stages of education. As I continued to read and reflect on my own practice I began to focus on what I saw as a ‘holistic’ approach to independent learning.

The definition I have settled on is as follows:

Independent Learning is learning that is self-directed. The learning is defined, organised and completed by the learner. Educators (experts) may act as facilitators or guides. However, the learner is encouraged to plot their own path and to value their own research as well as input from peers on the same level as information and guidance that they may gain from teachers (experts).

To continue the investigation I conducted an evaluation of existing practice with the Media Studies department. This resulted in the adoption of a more holistic, student-centred approach to developing independent learning skills. The subsequent assignment details this process and the findings.

Read my finished assignment here: A short term investigation into the impact of a ‘holistic’ approach to Independent Learning with the AS Media Studies classroom.

As I worked through the module I read a range of texts. The selected texts below represent the ones that came to shape my thinking and also featured in my assignment. I have added links to the texts that are available online:

  • Black, P. and Wiliam, D. (1998) Inside the Black Box: Raising Standards through Classroom Assessment, London: King’s College.
  • Claxton, G. (2002) Building Learning Power: Helping Young People Become Better Learners, TLO Ltd.
  • Cohen, Louis., Manion, Lawrence., Morrison, Keith. (2007) Research Methods in Education, Routledge, 6th Edition.
  • Dweck, C. S. (1999) Self-Theories: Their role in motivation, personality, and development, Philadelphia, PA: The Psychology Press.
  • Facer, Keri (2011), Learning Futures: Education, Technology and Social Change, T & F Books UK
  • Green, Hannah., Facer, Keri., Rudd, Tim., Dillon, Patrick., Humphreys, Peter., (2005) Personalisation and Digital Technologies, Futurelab, Retrieved 02.12.11 from the World Wide Web: (Page 9)
  • Heppell, S. (2010) Meta Cognition, Stephen Heppell, Learning and Teaching Scotland: Assessment for Learning, iTunesU, Retrieved 18 January 2011 from the World Wide Web:
  • Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E., Duncan, Ravit G., and Chinn, Clark A.,(2007) Scaffolding and Achievement in Problem-Based and Inquiry Learning: A Response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006) Educational Psychologist, 42:2, 99–107
  • Jonassen, et al (2003) Learning to solve problems with technology: a constructivist perspective
  • Kirschner, Paul A., Sweller, John, Clark, Richard E., (2006): Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching, Educational Psychologist, 41:2, 75-86
  • Metcalfe, J., and Shimamura, A.P.(Eds.) (1994) Metacognition: knowing about knowing. MIT Press.
  • Michie, James (2011a) Can we really help our students to become independent learners or are there too many constraints?, Retrieved 13.10.11 from the World Wide Web:
  • Michie, James (2011b) What is Independent Learning, Retrieved 17.10.11 from the World Wide Web:
  • Mitchell David (2011) The Evolution of Blogging, Retrieved 13.10.11 from the World Wide Web:
  • Mitra, S., Dangwal, R., Chatterjee, S., Jha, S., Bisht, R. S. and Kapur, P. (2005). Acquisition of computing literacy on shared public computers: Children and the “hole in the wall”. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 21(3), 407-426. Retrieved, April 2010 from the World Wide Web:
  • Nisbet, J., and Shueksmith J. (1986) Learning Strategies. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • QCDA, (2008) A framework of personal, learning and thinking skills, Retrieved 02.11.11 from the World Wide Web:
  • Quinlan, Oliver (2011a) Models for Thinking, Retrieved 12.10.11 from the World Wide Web:
  • Quinlan, Oliver (2011b) How can we enable meaningful independent learning?, Retrieved 13.10.11 from the World Wide Web:
  • Resnick, Mitchell (2012) Learning from Scracth, Learning Without Frontiers Conference 2012 (Video), Retrieved 13.02.12 from te Woerld Wide Web:
  • Robinson, Ken (2006) Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity, TED 2006 (Video). Retrieved, May 2010 from the World Wide Web:
  • Schunk, D.H., and Zimmerman, ]3..I.(1994) Self-Regulation of Learning and Performance. Hillsdale, N.J: Lawrence Erlbaum.
  • Stenhouse, L. (1985) Research as a basis for teaching: readings from the work of Lawrence Stenhouse, Oxford: Heinmann Educational
  • Thornburg, David D. Ph.D. (2007) Campfires in Cyberspace: Primordial Metaphors for Learning in the 21st Century, Retrieved, April 2010 from the World Wide Web:
  • Whitebread, David., Anderson, Holly., Coltman, Penny., Page, Charlotte., Pino Pasternak, Deborah., Mehta, Sanjana., (2005), Developing independent learning in the early years, Education 3-13: International Journal of Primary, Elementary and Early Years Education, 33:1, 40-50
  • Yin, R. (1994) Case study research: Design and methods (2nd ed.). Beverly Hills, CA: Sage Publishing
  • Yussen, S.R.(Ed.) (1985) The Growth of Reflection in Children. New York: Academic Press.

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