Student development of self-directed learning skills is critical for success in today’s rapidly-changing engineering world. The details of how instructors may best foster engagement in life-long learning, however, are unclear; many educators have struggled to define, implement, and assess lifelong learning in engineering curricula. We present a framework for student autonomy that may serve as a useful curriculum design tool by aiding instructors’ consideration of learner responsibility and development. The model describes lifelong learning as a set of choices over which students may gradually gain control. These areas of learning autonomy include four question categories: why is learning necessary, what should one learn, how should learning occur, and how well is learning achieved. Instructors may create policies in these four areas that produce low or high degrees of learning autonomy. Awareness of the areas of student autonomy may enable course designers to more effectively adopt approaches that meet student needs and foster lifelong learning skill development.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/jonathan_stolk/27/