1st Edition

Theoretical and Historical Evolutions of Self-Directed Learning The Case for Learner-Led Education

By Caleb Collier Copyright 2023

    This book analyzes the deep historical and theoretical roots of self-directed learning models in order to put forward a new conceptual understanding of self-directed learning.

    It utilizes philosophical methods to present arguments, both historical and contemporary, in favor of shifting education toward self-directed models and away from a view of education that places teachers, administration, curriculum, and standards at the center of the learning endeavor. This book demonstrates that self-directed learning has proven to be effective in numerous contexts and builds on this history to present a new philosophy of education termed "Eudemonic Self-Directed Learning," for individual and societal flourishing.

    Exploring exemplars from different cultural and historical settings to inform post-pandemic pedagogies and policies, this book will appeal to scholars and researchers of the history and philosophy of education, with interests in self-directed learning and its potential for contemporary practice.

    Part I: Whose Education Is It Anyway? 1. The Other Pandemic: Dependent Learners in the Age of Autonomy Part II: A Brief History of Self-Directed Learning: Looking Back to Move Forward: Tracing Self-Directed Learning Through Western Civilization  2. "All Men by Nature Desire to Know": Aristotle’s First Premise, Natural Curiosity, and the Rise of the Sophists 3. Learning to Do, Learning to Learn: Apprenticeships and the Printing Press 4. Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and Froebel: Nature, Freedom, and Play 5. The Great Equalizer: Horace Mann, the Chautauqua Movement, and W.E.B. Du Bois 6. Dewey, Montessori, and Progressive Reformers 7. Education as Revolutionary: Summerhill, Sudbury, Free Schools, and Citizenship Schools  8. Illich and Holt: Deschooling, Homeschooling, and Unschooling 9. The Field of Self-Directed Learning Part III: Exploring Self-Directed Learning Environments 10. Ready to Learn: The Skills of Self-Directed Learning 11. Experience and Environment: The Role of School in Self-Directed Learning 12. Where’s the Teacher?: Guides, Facilitators, and the Role of Adults in Self-Directed Learning 13. Equity, Freedom, and Responsibility 14. "Staying Competitive": Self-Directed Learning and Market Forces Part IV: Eudaimonia and Democratic Schooling 15. Learning as a Pursuit of Happiness: Education for Individual Flourishing 16. Learning to Live Together: Self-Directed Learning and Social Responsibility 17. Bringing It Together: Learning for the Self and the Other 18. Eudemonic Self-Directed Learning Part V: The Future of Education 19. A Summary of Arguments and Implications for Future Research


    Caleb Collier is Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Virginia and Researcher at The Institute for Self-Directed Learning, USA.