The University of Arizona

Emerging Student Learning Networks: Self-Directed Learning in an Eighth-Grade Life Science Classroom

Gerald P. Ardito


Although self-directed learning environments are common in higher education and online learning environments, they are uncommon in secondary educational settings. This mixed-method action research study, in which the author/researcher was also the teacher, reports on the design and implementation of a self-directed learning environment for eighth-grade life science students. This study investigated the impact of this type of learning environment on the behavior and achievement of students. The findings demonstrated an increase in self-regulatory behaviors, higher performance on a state-mandated final exam, and the development of complex and robust student learning networks. Implications for teaching and learning practices and suggestions for further research are discussed.



self-directed learning, self-regulated learning, science education, K-12 education, social network analysis, student learning networks, blended learning

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