Business Magazine

Learner Autonomy – Don’t Leave Me Stranded!

Posted on the 03 November 2011 by Combi31 @combi31
Learner Autonomy – Don’t leave me stranded!

Autonomy doesn’t necessarily mean that you are left alone to figure things out for yourselves.

There is a strong argument that would prove this point to be pretty impracticle in all but exceptional cases, being that autonomous learners have the tools that facilitate the job of learning.

Tools to build learning strategies that work, tools that help raise awareness of learning styles / memory preferences / prime-time and low-times / deep and surface learning.

Tools that help rais confidence to a level where learners are ready and able to take risks that form the core on purposeful and incidental learning alongside the almost serendipitous learning that often occurs by total ‘chance’.

This means that you are going to be learning some of the time alone and you are :

Empowered in your own personal learning process

Going to set your own learning objectives

Prioritise your objectives

Plan your own Self-Managed Learning

Choose when you work, what you work on, how you work etc.

You choose to work alone, with another person in tandem learning, as part of an on or off-line learning community.

I guess the operating words here are ‘choice’ and ‘empowerment’. Being empowered to make choices and thus choosing to be empowered.

Effective learning, in many cases fosters and nurtures the step-back and a further step-back from the content of learning and shifts the focus on the pure process.

The first step-back is a necessary phase that includes planning and objective / aims and goal-setting – if you don’t know where you are going you often end up elsewhere! Which may not always be a bad thing, but if experienced repetetively can cause confusion and loss of motivation – and in extreme cases despair.

The second step-back is the process of metacognition – Thinking about Thinking and a reflective recounting of the learning and thinking process undertaken.

The aim of this is to enter into a continual improvement cycle based on our learning experiences and the questioning and objective reasoning can be undergone by way of a “W+H” process in two stages :


What was my objective / aim / goal?

Was my objective / aim / goal realistic / achieveable?

Why / why not?

How did I go about?

Why did I want to do it that way?

Were there any other ways I could have tried?

How do I feel about the experience (did I enjoy it for example)?

What did I get out of the experience?

What did I get out of the experience that I didn’t plan / expect to?


How can I ensure my objective/aim/goal is more realistic / achieveable?

How can I improve the way I go about this?

What different ways/methods/strategies can I try next time?

What can I do to (try to) improve the learning experience for next time?

How will I address the next step?

When will I address the next step?

This can be added to and elaborated to attempt to streamline and enhance learning episodes and can be repeated in an attempt to get right down to the nitty-gritty of some challenging learning issues.

For example:

Fred has been learning French grammar – verb table in fact, off by heart – but he can’t seem to be able to use them effectively when the time comes to speak in the real world and he knows deep down that his process here is flawed but can’t really seem to get to grips and to why or how to rectify it.

He could start questioning why he is, in fact doing this, which may reveal some truths without actually giving an answer as to what or how he can go about changing things. He could start by a simple WHY?

Why am I learning verb tables when I really need to be able to speak simply but naturally?

>>Because this was the way we did it at school.

Why did we do it this way at school?

>> Because the teaching was like that!

Why was the teaching like that?

>>Because it was driven by the curriculum.

Why was it driven by the curriculum?

>> Because we had to pass and exam.

So why Fred are you doing this, this way when you don’t want to, and probably wont ever need to pass an exam in French (unless you choose this path later).

Sometimes the most logical questions to some of the most illogical issues are actually so simple that we don’t even bother raising the question.

© Active Learning 2009.  All rights reserved. Reproduction by permission only.

© 2011, ©Active Consultants 2011. All rights reserved. Copying in part or in entirety only permitted by written consent

Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog