Alliance for Self-Directed Education


Here I want to introduce you the Alliance for Self-Directed Education (ASDE), which is an organization dedicated to promoting Self-Directed Education. Its prominent founders include Peter Gray, a psychology professor, the author of the book Free to Learn and long time advocate of self-directed education and Sudbury Model. ASDE brought people and organizations that have long been actively engaged in self-directed education. For example, Grace Llewellyn, Pat Farenga, Agile Learning Center and so on. The major mission of ASDE is to put Self-Directed Education on the map. Over the years, we have seen various terms used to tell people about learning, terms like “informal learning”, “inquiry based learning”, “student centered learning”, “active learning”, “activity theory”, and so on. These terms are either twisted or phony. For example, “informal learning”? So the school classroom based learning is the formal learning? In my view, the so called “informal learning” is actually the formal learning. “Active learning”, “student centered learning” and “inquiry based learning” are just phony or even cheating if the learners cannot direct their own learning. Also all these other terms seem to imply that only children are the learners, while ASDE and Self-Directed Education clearly include both children and adults as the learners that they speak to. Learning is self-initiative. I am glad to see that ASDE is giving us the term “Self-Directed Education” to bring out the true face of learning.

Internet has changed our society fundamentally. But it hasn’t changed our education system very much. Over the past 20 years, I have seen related technology getting more and more mature, for example, web2.0, multi-media, mobile devices, and penetration of internet progressed greatly and people’s use of technology advanced. However, the long expected revolutionary change in the education world is still on the horizon. The reason? It has to do with things related to those twisted and phony terms I listed above. The popularity of those terms tells us how much work needs to be done to clear people’s misconception of learning/education. Thus the work of ASDE to put “Self-Directed Education” on the map is vital, and people here at Open Source Learning support this movement whole-heartedly.

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