Self-directed learning and student-centered learning: a conceptual comparison

Morris, T.H ORCID: 0000-0002-0100-6434, Bremner, N and Sakata, N (2023) 'Self-directed learning and student-centered learning: a conceptual comparison.' Pedagogy, Culture & Society. ISSN 1468-1366

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Self-directed learning and student-centred learning are key theoretical constructs in the educational literature. However, to date, the similarities and differences between these terms have not been examined. This paper therefore provides a historical overview of both constructs, followed by an analysis of the similarities and differences between them. The analysis found that student-centred learning has been interpreted in a much broader and more inconsistent way than self-directed learning, and that any conceptual comparison is dependent on the ways in which student-centred learning is interpreted. In particular, the inclusion or non-inclusion of the notion of power-sharing is key when comparing student-centred learning to self-directed learning. If power-sharing is not considered part of student-centred learning, learning might be student-centred and not yet self-directed. An original and important conclusion from the present work is that: only if power-sharing is considered part of student-centred learning can learning be both student-centred and self-directed. Increased clarity around the meanings of these concepts will benefit teachers and other educational stakeholders and will allow us to conduct more valid research to examine the potential impacts of such approaches.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: self-directed learning, student-centered learning, learner-centered pedagogy, constructivism, power-sharing
Divisions: School of Education
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Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2023 15:39
Last Modified: 11 Dec 2023 10:49
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