I am glad to present a new book on self-directed learning that I think is well worth reading:
Van der Westhuizen, C., Maphalala, M.C. & Bailey, R. (eds.), 2022, Blended learning environments to foster self-directed learning, NWU Self-Directed Learning Series, Vol. 8, pp. i-306, AOSIS Books, AOSIS Publishing (Pty) Ltd, Cape Town.
It is an open access publication, freely available as pdf.
This book on blended learning environments to foster self-directed learning highlights the focus on research conducted in several teaching and learning contexts where blended learning had been implemented and focused on the fostering of self-directed learning. Several authors have contributed to the book, and each chapter provides a unique perspective on blended learning and self-directed learning research. From each chapter, it becomes evident that coherence on the topics mentioned is established. One of the main aspects drawn in this book, and addressed by several authors in the book, is the use of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework when implementing teaching and learning strategies in blended learning environments to foster self-directed learning. This notion of focusing on the CoI framework is particularly evident in both theoretical and empirical dissemination presented in this book. What makes this book unique is the fact that researchers and peers in varied fields would benefit from the findings presented by each chapter, albeit theoretical, methodological or empirical in nature – this, in turn, provides opportunities for future research endeavours to further the narrative of how blended learning environments can be used to foster self-directed learning.
I was involved as a scientific reviewer and contributed text for the back cover:
In this book, self-directed learning is comprehensively examined as an indispensable 21st-century skill on the path to successful, lifelong learning in the most diverse facets.
Blended learning environments open the way to the future in order to promote and improve self-directed learning in the long term, taking into account metacognition, differences in socio-economic background and digital capability, among other factors. Since COVID-19, blended learning has gone from being optional to mandatory, so that the need for concepts, strategies and solutions for self-directed learning in blended learning environments has increased immensely.
The book is highly recommended as an introduction to the theory and practice of self-directed learning, but also of particular interest to researchers and teachers experienced in this field. It provides a comprehensive insight into contemporary concepts, challenges and practical solutions with precious experiences. The basics of self-directed learning in blended learning environments are explained in detail and, building on this, new trends and developments are discussed and formulated in a plausible way. The results presented are very well transferable to the international context, as educators and institutions worldwide are certainly in need of assistance and such valuable empirical evidence on precisely these points.
The contributions in this book definitely help to adequately underpin the importance of self-directed learning in science and education and to postulate it as a particularly important prerequisite for success in the 21st century. The diverse teaching strategies and practical examples in the book are an inspiration for lecturers and offer scientific orientation for designing one’s own teaching settings, with a focus on self-directed learning. The promotion of self-directed learning through blended learning scenarios becomes a symbiotic, future-oriented premise in the educational context.
Prof. Dr-Ing. Monika Steinberg, Department of Information and Communication, Faculty 3 – Media, Information and Design, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover, Hannover, Germany