As instructor, I met with each learner in an initial interview to familiarize them with the program and to assist the learner in identifying learning goals and in choosing topics for study. Then I provided each learner with an individualized learning package that identified learning materials for each topic they were interested in pursuing. Sessions consisted of:
In every case, students were asked to take the lead in deciding how they wanted to work, what topics they wished to pursue, and how quickly they wanted to progress through the materials. My role as instructor was to support and assist by making recommendations, facilitating discussion, monitoring progress and providing information and instruction.
Seven cycles of instruction were delivered using this format. There were many students who flourished in the learning environment, opting to take several cycles of instruction, and experiencing much success in meeting their learning goals. There were also those who never quite attained a comfort level with the extent of expectation and responsibility given the learner in this self-directed learning environment. Some of these learners simply stopped attending. At the end of two cycles of instruction one learner suggested that the program would improve if she could be informed ahead of time about what she would be working on in class. By doing so, she wouldnt have to take so much time figuring that out at the onset of each session.
This became a starting point upon which to base the action research project. The initial research question was:
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