Dr. Bernadette Black-Self-Directed Learning
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“Integrating Self-Directed Learning into Course Design” --
Dr. Bernadette Black, Presenter
Thirty years of research about self-directed learning has focused primarily on the impact of this approach on individuals and societies. Using self-directed learning in higher education classrooms presents different challenges and creates the potential for exponential benefits. The learning transformation, as a result of self-directed learning, affects students and faculty alike as the classroom evolves into a learning community where power and responsibility are shared. It is through anticipating the barriers and acknowledging the benefits of self-directed learning that can prompt more faculty to consider incorporating this method in classroom teaching to prepare adult students for a lifetime of learning. Modeling self-directed learning in the classroom becomes an effective tool for transformation as students and faculty negotiate, interact, and thrive in a democratic learning community.
Come to discuss the meaning and practice of self-directed learning. What are the implications of this approach for students, for faculty, and for our society? How can we as faculty encourage and foster self-directed learning among our adult students? The merits and pitfalls of self-directed learning will prompt an open discussion about classroom power, faculty roles, and student responsibilities.
About the Presenter:
Bernadette M. Black is the Director for the Social Foundations of Education master's degree program for the University of Virginia's Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, Virginia. As an Assistant Professor, she teaches 2-3 graduate classes per semester. Her teaching and learning philosophy is rooted in the assumption that adults flourish in learning environments designed for interaction, choice, and self-direction. With 33 years of higher education experience, her mission is to expand aspirations and encourage adults to fulfill their professional development potential. Her professional experience includes 6 years as Director of Professional Development for the Virginia Community College System where she created and implemented a nationally award winning program for faculty in Virginia's 23 community colleges and launched the Regional Centers for Teaching Excellence. In addition, for 17 years she directly served a diverse student population as counselor and professor at Northern Virginia Community College’s Alexandria Campus. Her doctoral degree from UVA is in counselor education. She has published numerous articles and co-authored the eighth edition of the textbook entitled, Training for Life: A Practical Guide to Career and Life Planning (2003). She serves as a consultant to individuals and organizations on creating responsive professional development programs in higher education, appreciating the value of time, building learning communities, and developing individual development plans.