What is Self-Directed Learning

What is Self-Directed Learning

What is self-directed learning? This method underpins our belief that as students move through school, they should become less dependent on teachers and more capable learners in their own right. Hence, the OneSchool Global approach is to teach our students the discipline of Learning to Learn. This journey starts from the moment students enter our school. As students move into the Senior School, teachers become less the fount of knowledge, and more a coach and mentor.

We work to the principal that “To become self-directed learners, students must learn to assess the demands of the task, evaluate their own knowledge and skills, plan their approach, monitor their progress, and adjust their strategies as needed.”

— Ambrose, S.A., Bridges, M.W., DiPietro, M., Lovett, M.C. and Norman, M.K. (2010). How Learning works Seven Research-Based Principles for Smart Teaching. Jossey Bass, San Francisco, C


The Learning-to-Learn Framework

We apply this principle using our ‘Learning to Learn Framework’: Learning occurs by means of the interlinking elements of ‘The Assignment’, ‘The Lesson’, and ‘The Study’.

The ‘Assignment’ defines what teachers need to teach and what students need to apply and learn. The Assignment is always shared between students and teachers upfront and is regularly co-created, with students making significant choices in collaboration with their teacher about how best to learn and apply the content. It contains all teaching content, deadlines and checkpoints and always includes self-management skills.

The ‘Lesson’ is a time for the teacher to collaborate with their students, demonstrate aspects of the content in the Assignment, and monitor learning progress of each student in the class. The structure and role of the lesson changes as learners move through the school. Teachers are responsible for the lesson time, but the focus is less on the teacher conveying what they know and more on students learning how to self-direct their own learning journey.

The ‘Study’ is the student’s time to conduct their learning, either on tasks as set out in the Assignment, working alone, with their peers, or in a tutorial setting with their teacher. Although ‘The Study’ is not limited to a specific time or place, the Learning Centre is the physical space on campus where students most often work on the Study element. Students are carefully coached by their teachers to plan and manage their time and tasks in the ‘The Study’.

Where a student requires assistance from a teacher, ‘The Tutorial’ is an ideal time in which to receive specialist help on a particular topic, either 1-on-1 or as a small group. This is often arranged by the student(s) during a Study, either via Zoom or in a face-to-face setting. Tutorials are arranged as needed, depending on the availability of the teacher and student.


We develop independent, proactive, life-long learners

Self-Directed Learning supports our belief that students need to become independent, autonomous learners who take ownership of their learning and flourish. It complements the unique nature of our distributed campuses and virtual classrooms and reflects the rapidly changing nature of society. The skills of being agile, adaptable, creative, and critical thinkers, are prized and enhanced through a self-directed approach to learning. Through our focus on students collaborating with teachers and peers during learning, students embed a deep understanding that the soft skills of empathy, thoughtfulness, social justice and collaboration are just as important as technical skills.


If you are looking for a teaching career in an innovative, global school, that embraces technology and values your development as a educator, visit our employment pages to learn more. You can view current vacancies over the 126 campuses we operate across the globe, or join our talent pool for opportunities that may arise in future.

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