Betts' Autonomous Learner Model

Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Did you know that Betts' Autonomous Learner Model was created to help gifted students? In this lesson, we will discuss Betts' Autonomous Learner Model, its five dimensions, and more.

Betts' Autonomous Learner Model

Dale has just started a new job as a middle school teacher. Dale notices that several of his students are gifted, meaning that they have demonstrated exceptional ability to learn and perform at a level much higher than expected for their age or environment. While searching for ways to modify his teaching approach to fit his students' needs, Dan comes across Betts' Autonomous Learner Model. So what exactly does this model propose?

The Autonomous Learner Model (ALM) was created by Prof. George Betts and Jolene Kercher in order to promote gifted students' growth toward independent, self-directed learning. This model aims to help students develop the skills, ideas and attitudes that promote lifelong learning. Students take on a more active role in the learning process and teachers become facilitators of learning. Though ALM was created for gifted students, it can be modified for use in different settings such as a regular classroom or smaller group.

ALM contains five major domains or dimensions: Orientation, Individual Development, Enrichment, Seminars and In-depth Study.

Five Dimensions

The five dimensions of ALM

The first dimension of ALM is Orientation. Students, their parents and teachers learn all about ALM, its goals, and what the program can do for them. Pupils learn about about intelligence and creativity. They are also encouraged to think about what it means to be gifted, get to know more about themselves and their potential for academic achievement. Additionally, learners are given the opportunity to work in groups while learning about each other.

The second dimension of ALM is Individual Development. In this dimension, learners get to explore the skills that they already possess. They are also taught the skills that they need in order to become lifelong learners. Learners gain the skills needed to take an active role in their learning process through Individual Development.

Enrichment, the third dimension, is when students begin to explore content that is outside of the school curriculum. Learners are able to discover content outside of what the school provides which fits their learning needs. They start with explorations, or discovering what new content is available. Learners can also complete investigations, which require learners to develop and carry out a project. Cultural activities allow for participation in community events, and the mandatory service activities encourage learners to help make the world a better place.

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