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Facilitating Original and critical Thinking by Differential Approaches to Self-Direction in Learning
Dirk Bissbort (Centre for Educational Research, University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany) [BIO]
If we assume that self-directed learning will contribute to different modes of academic learning, we should consider self-direction as a key for processes and outcomes that foster original and critical thinking in higher education. Reconsidering research we have to acknowledge that analogous learning environments can produce contradictory effects. The outcomes underline that modes of self-directed learning differentially contribute to the various effects on learning (cf. Boekaerts & Corno, 2005). Thus, promoting original and critical thinkers requires a differential understanding of self-directed academic learning (cf. Nenniger, 2005) which allows a more adequate explanation.
One source for an extended understanding that allows identification of conditions of original thinking in academic learning arises from research based on a combination of theories related to the concepts of “Approaches to Learning” (e.g. in Entwistle & Ramsden, 1983; Marton & Säljö, 1976) with models of “Self-Directed Learning” or “Self-Regulated Learning” (cf. Boekaerts, Pintrich, & Zeidner, 2000). In such research we detect common areas within the above concepts as descriptors of the ongoing processes and their characteristics (cf. van den Brink, 2006).
In this paper the following findings are presented:
- Results from research aiming at a synopsis of existing instruments relevant to detect the “Differential Approaches to Learning” within “Self-Direction in Learning”.
- Results from ongoing phenomenological and empirical research about possible structures of a construct regarding “Differential Approaches to Self-Direction in Learning”.
- Discussion of consequences and perspectives in view of potentials for the construction of learning environments promoting critical and original thinking.
- Boekaerts, M., Corno, L. (2005). Self-regulation in the classroom: A perspective on assessment and intervention. Applied Psychology, 54(2), 155-185.
- Entwistle, N.J. & Ramsden, P. (1983). Understanding student learning. London: Croom-Helm.
- Marton, F. & Säljö, R. (1976). On qualitative differences in learning: I - Outcome and process. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 46, 4-11.
- Nenniger, P. (2005). Commentary on self-regulation in the classroom: A perspective on assessment and intervention. Applied Psychology, 54(2), 239-244.
- Van den Brink, K. (2006). Conceptual relations between “Self-regulated Learning” and “Approaches to Learning”. A Cross-Cultural Research with Portuguese and German Computer Science Students. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Koblenz-Landau. Landau.
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