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Posts Tagged ‘stages

I fished this useful resource, The Four Stages Of The Self-Directed Learning Model, from my Twitter stream recently.

My critique is not so much the model but the temptation to use a descriptive model prescriptively. It is like history repeating itself with Bloom’s Taxonomy. Some folks interpret the model to mean that one should start at stage 1 and move up progressively.

What is wrong with prescriptive interpretations? For one thing, that there may be a fixed starting point, and for another, a directionality of progression.

Presuming that most people start at ground zero is like telling someone with access to a fibre optic Internet connection to start with dialup access, move on to DSL, and then to cable.

The problem with stages is that they are presented like stairs. If you skip stairs in real life, you risk injury. That mindset can get transferred to something like a model for self-directed learning (SDL).

Using the step-like analogy, do people not also walk down stairs? Some people will place value in the stages and typically higher is better.

This may be true of some models, but SDL is not a mono-directional process. You can be at stage 4 for something you are passionate about, but at stage 1 for something you are just learning. You are not at stage 2.5 on average.

You can move in between stages depending on the circumstances. Are you alone by choice or circumstance? Are you in the presence of knowledgeable others? Where you are in the spectrum of SDL is contextual and needs based.

Models can be misleading even though they may not be designed that way. Perhaps it is our need to simplify or compartmentalize that create problems.

Perhaps we need to be model literate. Perhaps, more simply, stage-like simplification is a step (ha!) towards more continuum-oriented, systemic thinking.

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