1st Edition

Supporting Self-Directed Learning in Science and Technology Beyond the School Years

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    While much has been written about science education from pre-K through to postgraduate study, interaction with science and technology does not stop when schooling ends. Moving beyond scholarship on conventional education, this book extends the research and provides an original in-depth look at adult and lifelong learning in science and technology. By identifying the knowledge and skills that individuals need to engage in self-directed learning, the book highlights how educators can best support adult learners beyond the years of formal schooling. Through case studies and empirical analysis, the authors offer a research-based exploration of adults’ self-directed learning and provide tools to support adults’ learning experiences in a wide range of environments while being inclusive of all educational backgrounds.





    Chapter 1: What Are Science and Technology?


    The importance of science and technology

    Scientific literacy and the public understanding of science

    Finding a meaning for scientific literacy

    What does it mean to be literate in science and technology?

    Where does STEM fit?

    What science and technology do people need to know?

    Where can adults learn about science and technology and how can we help them?


    Chapter 2: How Do Adults Learn Science and Technology?


    To what extent do adults learn science and technology?

    Models of learning

    Models underlying a classical view of pedagogy




    The main elements of the self-directed learning of science and technology

    Theories of motivation and self-determination

    Individual engagement with science and technology


    Chapter 3: Learning to Deal with Medical Issues


    Seeking solutions to health problems

    Ana’s story: First pregnancy

    Penny’s story: An "invisible disability"

    Mary’s story: A lifelong challenge

    Commentary on the three case stories


    Chapter 4: Pursuing Personal Interests – Learning through Hobbies


    Pursuing a life-long hobby

    Richard’s Story: Building a Logie Baird televisor

    Michael’s Story: Creating Complex Jewellery

    Pursuing Environmental Interests

    Tina’s Story: Surprise encounter with a bumblebee

    Paulette’s Story: Opaque Aquifers and Other Matters

    Commentary on the four case stories


    Chapter 5: Learning to Help Others


    Helping children

    Paul’s story: pop-up dinosaurs

    Liz’s story: Science for Mothers

    The explainers

    Tiki’s story: Interpreting plants

    Kristen’s story: In the galleries

    Warren’s story: A science of place

    Commentary on the five case stories


    Chapter 6: Learning for Work


    Learning in and for the workplace

    Hugh’s story: An experience of life-long learning

    Ketan’s story: Understanding controversy

    Keith’s story: Life is a garden

    Commentary on the three case stories


    Chapter 7: Learning Through a Diversity of Approaches: The Case of the Moon Diary



    The influence of learning styles and multiple intelligences

    Free pathways and motivation

    The Moon Diary assignment

    Initial responses: from confusion to elation

    Choosing the theme



    Chapter 8: Resources for Self-Directed Learning


    How self-directed learners use resources

    Media resources

    Printed resources

    Electronic mass media

    The Internet and social media

    Quality of information portrayed by mass media

    People as resources – experts, friends, peers and colleagues

    Experts in the field

    Friends, peers, and colleagues

    Course-taking and teachers

    Internet e-learning platforms

    Self-directed learning at education institutions

    Personal resources


    Chapter 9: Learning from New Media


    Characteristics of new media

    Learning via the Internet: The digital divide

    Motivation to search the Internet

    Checking facts

    Focused searching

    Exploration and discovery

    Learning about science through new media: Social networks

    Hazards of new media

    Judging a credible source

    Helping people to learn from the Internet


    Chapter 10: Supporting Self-directed Learning in Science and Technology



    Essential skills for effective self-directed learning

    Prerequisite personal resources for self-directed learners

    Motivation toward the chosen task

    Active engagement in learning

    Self-efficacy as a learner

    Partnerships for learning

    Mentoring relationships

    Varieties of mentorship

    Learning relationships in our case stories

    Learning relationships and online media

    How to support self-directed learners

    Likely supporters of self-directed learners

    Educators providing formal learning experiences

    Specialists and community liaison people

    Staff in the educational sections of cultural organisations

    Effective communication


    Chapter 11: Advancing the Cause of Adult Literacy in Science and Technology


    Science in the school curriculum

    Dealing with science and technology in everyday life

    Technology in the school curriculum

    The curricular relevance of STEM and STEAM

    The relevance of an integrated curriculum

    Developing literacy in science and technology

    Increasing "Science Capital"

    Providing knowledge and skills to facilitate universal scientific literacy

    Achieving the goals of lifelong learning in science and technology



    Léonie J. Rennie is Emeritus Professor of Science and Technology Education in the School of Education at Curtin University, Australia.

    Susan M. Stocklmayer is Emeritus Professor of Science Communication and Founder of the Australian National Centre for the Public Awareness of Science at The Australian National University, Australia.

    John K. Gilbert is Professor Emeritus of Science Education at The University of Reading, and Visiting Professor of King’s College London, UK.


    "This is a book of great lucidity and relevance by three world-leading academics. It examines data from a wide range of countries and powerfully shows the great potential for adult science education. The case studies it analyses are fascinating. This is a book that deserves to be read by all those who strive for a more scientifically literate society."

    - Professor Michael J. Reiss, UCL Institute of Education, UK

    "This book is unique in that it reviews the knowledge and skills that adults need to update and further their understanding of science and technology. Rooted in theories of adult learning, the authors describe how work or personal interests can spark a need-to-know, which then forms the starting point of a learning trajectory. The authors of this book bring a lifetime of expertise to the topic, and have the ability to write about it in a very accessible and engaging way. As such, it is highly recommended for educators, but also, and more importantly, for every person who thinks that they may be missing out or losing touch with science and technology."

    - Professor Jan van Driel, The University of Melbourne, Australia

    "This book, by three of the leading scholars in the field, provides an important and much overdue look at the way in which adults learn about science and technology. Through a series of case study accounts of adult engagement with science and technology, the authors build a strong argument for the importance of self-directed learning in science education."

    - John Wallace, University of Toronto, Canada