Elements of Acton: Self-Directed Learning

  • Mastery learning

  • Self-directed learning

  • Real-world projects

  • Socratic discussions

  • Identifying strengths and passions


Self-Directed Learning: What It Is

Self-directed learning puts students in charge of their own learning process. In a self-directed learning environment students are responsible for setting learning goals, monitoring progress, and evaluating their work.

How We Use Self-Directed Learning at Acton

Students at Acton Elementary learn how to set daily, weekly, and session learning goals, which they monitor and report on. Once they become adept at goal setting and tracking, they are able to choose what to work on during core skills (math, reading, writing) time. For example, one Acton student could choose to work only on math for three weeks before switching to writing, while another might prefer to spend time on math, reading, and writing each day. However a student chooses to divide his/her work, all students monitor their progress to ensure they are balancing the core skills and challenging themselves.

More on Self-Directed Learning

Here are some helpful resources on self-directed learning:

Self-Directed Learning
A summary of self-directed learning, including some of the benefits, such as fostering students who are “motivated and persistent, independent, self-disciplined, self-confident and goal-oriented.”

20 Tips to Promote a Self-Directed Classroom Culture
This list of tips for supporting self-directed learners includes making it safe to fail, fostering peer support, and removing limitations.