Landing : Athabascau University

Do students taught primarily in a system that operates using a “teaching is talking and learning is listening” philosophy develop self-directed learning skills?

Gabriel Gervais presentation tonight entitled “Self-directed learning readiness among working adult Singaporeans: A correlational analysis” brings an interesting cultural perspective to a contemporary educational topic.  He provided socio-cultural background information about Singaporean students, particularly related to students and teachers roles in classroom interaction, as well as the impetus for his study which is influenced both by Singeporean government education aspirations and his own institution's mission. 

Gabriel is a full-time faculty member of Singapore’s SIM University business school which targets working adults who require more flexibility in pace, place and time by providing blended learning delivery where face-to-face seminar attendance is optional. The state-run educational ministry makes the assumption that the SIM students can be self-directed learners (SDL), yet students come primarily from a teacher-centric educational system. Gabriel’s study will investigate self-directed learning readiness among working adult Singaporean learners, particularly those registered at SIM through conducting a survey of up to 500 students.  He hopes his study will lead to appropriate support and remediation systems for SIM students to improve their SDL.  It would be interesting to know how the self-reported SDL results correlate to actual course grades.  Do students under or over-estimate their SDL skills? Do they feel they have strong SDL skills, or does the expression “they don’t know what they don’t know” apply?  

Thoughts that come to me as I reflect about Gabriel’s presentation centre on transferability of his study results to studies looking at effectiveness of global distance education programs. In particular, I’d be interested in knowing if SDL abilities vary in by age and gender. Do strong SDL skills translate to higher scholastic achievement and career advancement?  The students in Gabriel’s study are adults working in business-type careers where they most likely would have developed some SDL strategies, but it is an important study that will provide insights for educational interventions for international students, particularly for those institutions/educators who have limited knowledge of Confucian-based pedagogical principles. 


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