Whenever we think of learning, we associate it with a classroom and a teacher at the head of the class, in what has often been called ‘the sage on the stage’ model. The ‘lecture’ which may of about 40 minutes at School, about an hour at University and sometimes of almost 90 minutes in professional courses is the primary activity. There maybe supplementary laboratory, tutorials, seminars, projects or study visits, but the ‘lecture’ is the primary mode. There are enough research studies alluding to the ineffectiveness and limitations of such lectures, and in particular that most learners “zone out” after the first 10 minutes of the lecture. Active learner engagement fares better in learning effectiveness, because learning is not a spectator sport.
Self-learning, described by Malcolm Knowles as a process in which individuals take the initiative without the help of others in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating goals, identifying human and material resources, and evaluating learning outcomes”.
The way children learn is called pedagogy, the learning process for adults is called Andragogy and the learning approach of the self-directed learner is called Heutagogy. Heutagogy is the study of self-determined learning …
The world of self-learning can be a little daunting. However, if we want to achieve our aspirations and stay relevant in an ever-changing world, self-learning is critical to us in the 21st Century.
The New Education Policy 2020 gives a big push to the practice of Heutagogy and encouraging learners to become self-directed learners.
The NEP 2020 at para 4.6 says: The key overall thrust of curriculum and pedagogy reform across all stages will be to move the education system towards real understanding and learning how to learn – and away from the culture of rote learning as is present today. The goal will be to create holistic and well-rounded individuals equipped with key 21st-century skills. All aspects of curriculum and pedagogy will be reoriented and revamped to attain these critical goals.
It is not only the ineffectiveness of lectures, it seems that even the attempt to teach is a futile endeavour. The famous historian Edward Gibbons had said “But the power of instruction is seldom of much efficacy, except in those happy dispositions where it is almost superfluous.”I am not a historian and had seen this quoted by Richard Feynman in his famous “ Lectures in Physics”. The famous poet and Professor Robert Frost had said “I am not an educator….I am an awakener”. We need to re-awaken the inherent desire to learn that traditional education stifles.
Edward T Hall, the anthropologist said “The drive to learn is as strong than the sexual drive. It begins earlier and lasts longer”. Again I am not an anthropologist and this is quoted in “ Schools that learn” by Peter Senge.
Here is a very good article on the importance of self-directed learning : https://link.medium.com/fUmzYZHJN9