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Self-directed Learning

Write about the Critical Essay for Training and Development.

Learning in the 21st Century has changed dramatically. Due to internet technologies, there is increased skill competition as locational barriers have been put down. Organizations have the ability of sourcing their manpower from a variety of countries if those individuals have the desired skill sets. Also, the internet has given individuals access to huge amounts of information making it easier to do academic research. The internet contains information concerning a wide range of academic disciplines which can suit any individual. Increased numbers of people have seen the need to enrol in institutions of learning in order to increase their level of competitiveness in the industry. It is no longer enough for people to have a high school degree, analytical skills, communication skills and other technical skills have become high in demand. Internet technologies have increased the accessibility to these tertiary learning institutions through distance learning. Despite the ease of access to information and distant learning opportunities, adult learners still continue to face challenges in the process of obtaining academic excellence. Responsibilities and time management are challenges faced by adult learners that see some of them drop from the already enrolled courses while some of them fail to pursue them altogether. It is of importance for these adult learners to have some characteristics that will enable them succeed in their enrolment in tertiary institutions. This paper therefore outlines some of the characteristics that are necessary for adult learner’s enrolled tertiary institutions in the 21st century. This paper will consider self-directed learners, digital literate learners, open minded learners, results oriented and learners that are apt in time management strategies.     

Successful adult learners need to embrace self-directed learning. Self-directed learning involves the learner taking responsibility and control over the learning process. Self-directed learning can take both external control and internal monitoring. While external control focuses on the instructors input on the learning materials while internal control takes account on the role of the student with regard to self-management strategies. It enables the adult learner to perform their learning goals and managing their learning resources. The adult learner can take control of internal monitoring process of their learning process through proper planning, application of different strategies and use of internet resources to obtain relevant information. According to Karakas & Manisaligil (2012) there is a positive correlation between self-directed learning and learning outcomes for individuals. For example, the student can request for the instructor to change the assignment dates or request for additional instruction. The student also takes the initiative to diagnose his learning skills, designing and pursuit of educational outcomes. The student can master certain topics within the course process without direct input from the instructor. Web based learning has made self-management necessary for successful academic activity due to their convenience and versatility in accommodating various learning strategies. The individual is given the ability to adjust their learning schedules with the other activities that they might be engaged in. Responsibility in self-directed learning can be established through managing timetables, active participation in the classroom, submission of assignments and classroom engagement. It is through self-directed learning that the individuals are able to achieve commitment levels that are required in tertiary learning (Tattersall & Koper, 2005). At last, the investigations of the present review showed a connection between SDL inclination and scholarly accomplishment. These discoveries can likewise be clarified inside the system of the self-directed motivational writing which demonstrates that fruitful learners have more viable and effective learning methodologies for getting to and utilizing their insight, are self-inspired, and can screen and change their techniques to enhance their learning results. At the point when learners perceive their adapting needs, plan learning destinations, select substance, draw up learning techniques, obtain showing materials and media, recognize extra human and physical assets and make utilization of them, and they themselves arrange, control, assess, and assess their own learning, they will probably perform exceedingly on learning undertakings (Karakas & Manisaligil, 2012).

Digital Literacy

Successful adult learners need to accommodate digital literacy. Internet technologies require the use of a variety of multimedia digital tools such as social media, chat rooms, and video and presentations which are commonly used in the dissemination of knowledge by tertiary institutions. Also, information literacy as a component of digital literacy involves the ability to locate required information in an efficient manner, evaluation of information and relevant sources as well as the incorporation of selected information into a specified task. It also requires the access and use of information in an ethical and legal way through the avoidance of plagiarism (Warschauer, 2007). The internet has wide amounts of information, it is however necessary that this information is effectively filtered for them to be applicable in the educational activity being engaged in. The individual needs to have the ability of interpreting, designing and creating content that uses a wide range of media. It also involves frame composition, video editing techniques and the effects of typography. These skills are important not only for occupational purposes, but also for artistic purposes and civic purposes. It gives the individuals the ability to increase the number of available job opportunities that require multimodal content. It also enables the individuals to participate in community discussions in order to get more insight on the issues being studied. Also, digital literacy is significant when the students want to obtain data from surveys as they can facilitate online based surveys which are less costly compared to the traditional forms of survey related activities (Warschauer, 2007). Therefore a successful adult learner requires being digitally literate in order to effectively participate in the learning process.

Successful adult learners need to be open minded in the learning process. Open mindedness requires the adaptation of newer learning theories which are more relevant in the 21st century dynamics. There are three learning structures which are most prevalent in adult learners which are the inferred hypothesis, casual hypothesis, and formal hypothesis. Scholastic specialists utilize the formal hypothesis when they apply complex hypothetical systems to produce new learning. Tacit hypothesis outlines the procurement of metacognitive abilities as happening with no particular learning structure (Kenner & Weinnerman, 2011). As indicated by implicit hypothesis, grown-up learners obtain their metacognitive aptitudes from associates, educators, and the nearby culture. Adult learners likely have these abilities profoundly imbued into their reasonable system, which may make it troublesome for them to change, paying little respect to the level of blunder coming about because of a defective implicitly created learning hypothesis (Kenner & Weinnerman, 2011).  These learning strategies often act as a hindrance to learning and may make it more difficult for the adult learner to engage fully in the process. People who utilize casual hypothesis still procure their metacognitive abilities after some time from their companions and their condition; however they have no less than a simple cognizant point of view with respect to their metacognitive structure. For adult learners a lot of their casual metacognitive procedures create in working environment conditions, where metacognitive advancement is perceived by their companions as an indication of insight, which unites knowledge, experience, and reflection. Particular inquiries that can urge grown-up learners to contrast their down to earth information and the aptitudes required in their scholastic vocation can incorporate breaking down reference utilization in scholarly written work yet not in expert updates and the part of first individual in various composition shapes. Other materials that can be displayed in this structure incorporate presenting the part of inclination and instructive versus influential written work styles. Therefore the adult learners need to critically approach the information provided in the available instructional materials in order to obtain maximum use from them. Open mindedness is a necessary skill that accommodates the dynamism of learning in the 21st century.

Conclusion

Learning in the 21st century can be a challenging affair especially with the limited time available to individuals. For this reason, adult learners need to have some traits that can set them up for success. One of the traits is self-directed learning. It is important that the learners take charge of their learning process. This can be done through active participation, self-assessment and communication with instructors. In this way an adult learner can take responsibility of his academic pursuits. The other trait is digital literacy. A successful adult learner needs to have the ability to use multiple digital tools since most of the materials in tertiary institutions are digitally oriented. The learner needs the ability to use multimedia internet tools or successful learning and participation. Adult learners in the 21st century need to be open minded to new learning approaches and experiences that are effective in the 21st Century. In this way they will be open to new ideas and more effective learning strategies. Successful adult learners need to recognize that the learning process is just as important as the results being sought after. In this way they will be able to learn more than they initially might have had. Lastly, time management skills are of importance to adult learners since they need to juggle the responsibilities that they have in their lives in order to become successful in their pursuits. The applications of these characteristics are important in order to facilitate the success of adult learners in tertiary institutions.

References

Karakas, F., & Manisaligil, A. (2012). Reorienting self-directed learning for the creative digital era. European Journal of Training and Development, 36(7), 712-731.

Kenner, C., & Weinerman, J. (2011). Adult learning theory: Applications to non-traditional college students. Journal of College Reading and Learning, 41(2), 87-96.

Tattersall, C., Manderveld, J., Van den Berg, B., Van Es, R., Janssen, J., & Koper, R. (2005). Self organising wayfinding support for lifelong learners. Education and Information technologies, 10(1), 111-123.

Warschauer, M. (2007). The paradoxical future of digital learning. Learning Inquiry, 1(1), 41-49.

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