South African Journal of Higher Education

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Self-directed learning: adult learners' perceptions and their study materials

ESG Greyling, HC Geyser, CM Fourie


The poor performance of a group of adult learners from an historically disadvantaged background doing a postgraduate programme in education through distance education, triggered this investigation. The purpose of this article is therefore, firstly to measure these students' perceptions of their own SDL; secondly to explore the extent to which their study materials support and enhance their SDL; and thirdly to interpret these adult learners' perceptions of their own learning in terms of SDL support in their learning materials. Their perceptions of their own learning were identified by means of a Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale. SDL criteria were developed to assess their study materials. The items in the questionnaire were then matched with these criteria in order to compare the learners' perceptions of their own SDL with the development of SDL in the study materials. Recommendations focus on the development of SDL competences in study materials.

South African Journal of Higher Education Vol.16(2) 2002: 112-121
AJOL African Journals Online