Embarking on a Case Study: Looking at Self-Directed Learning (SDL)

I am presenting a case study for my final assignment in my final subject in my MEd KNDI where I will be examining the extent to which our students entering the High School are prepared for self-directed learning (SDL). The following are some of my reflections as I start this journey.

Interpretation: an essential component of research

One of the first preparation readings provides good examples to show what research is and, more importantly, what it isn’t. I know that I need to learn more about SDL and as tempted as I am to suggest that a quick scan of journals and websites might be described as research, in reality this is just a quick dive or perhaps ‘information discovery’ (Leedy P. & Ormrod, 2013, p. 1). As I rummage around further in the readings to cobble together a better understanding of SDL, this is still not research but an ‘exercise in self-enlightenment’ (p. 2). Even when I pull out and begin to form a list of characteristic and features of a self-directed learner, this is still not research but perhaps more aptly described as ‘fact organisation’ (p. 2). According to Leedy & Ormrod (2013), the essence of research is the interpretation which is something I have yet to do with this data.

Cognation vs Metacognition

In my readings, I discover that both cognitive and metacognitive strategies are both important characteristics of SDL. What, therefore, is the difference between these two terms? A great example is given here on a website (Cognition vs. Metacognition) that does lack authority (see the citation below); however this example was somewhat supported after a another quick scan (Anderson, Betts, Ferris, & Fincham, 2011). A cognitive task may be to use find the sum of a set of numbers. A metacognitive task may be to add the numbers up again. The cognitive task is knowing how to reach the goal, in this case add up the numbers, whereas the metacognitive task is to check that the goal has been reached, in this case check the answer. Therefore, for my case study, I may need to gather data on both cognitive and metacognitive strategies which I will then need to analyse and interpret to determine the level of readiness for SDL.


Anderson, J. R., Betts, S., Ferris, J. L., & Fincham, J. M. (2011). Cognitive and Metacognitive Activity in Mathematical Problem Solving: Prefrontal and Parietal Patterns. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 11(1), 52–67. http://doi.org/10.3758/s13415-010-0011-0

Cognition vs. Metacognition. (n.d.). Retrieved August 09, 2017, from http://whenmotivationmeetsmetacognition.weebly.com/cognition-vs-metacognition.html

Leedy P., & Ormrod, J. (2013). The nature and tools of research. In Practical research : planning and design (pp. 1–26).

Featured Image: https://flic.kr/p/nXubkZ

This entry is an slightly edited version of the post in my CSU blog. 

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