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Promoting Student Responsibility for Learning

Instructor: Laura Gray

Laura has taught at the secondary and tertiary levels for 20+ years and has a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning.

This lesson will focus on encouraging students to take responsibility for their learning and become self-directed learners. In addition, it will address typical student excuses and offer suggestions for dealing with these.

Typical Student 'Excuses'

Have you ever heard the following statements from your students?

1. 'I didn't know it was due today.'

2. 'Your directions weren't clear.'

3. 'I didn't understand what I was supposed to do.'

Student confusion

There are dozens more, but if you have ever heard these, then you are not alone. Students often offer myriad reasons why they were either unable (or unwilling) to get their work done. In short, many students just do not take responsibility for their learning. This is not necessarily their fault, however. As teachers, we are often guilty of spoon-feeding our students the information they need to know.

So, how can we encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning?

The Self-Directed Learner

Ideally, we would like for our students to take on the role of a self-directed learner. We would like for them to ask questions sooner rather than later, and we would like for them to dispense with the whining and excuses when they fail to submit work on time, fail a test, or fail to ask for help when they need it.

What is a self-directed learner?

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