“Experiences in Self Determined Learning” Book Review Part 1


Morning internet!

How is your Saturday going?

I need to fix a leaky faucet today.

I know I know, its a wild and crazy life I lead.


It’s something I’ve never done. I’ve been reading and watching tutorials though, and with the help of a friend, intend to give it a go.

It’ll be a learning experience, which I hope wont end in a scene like this:


How do you like to learn?

I have described myself in the past as an autodidact.   An autodidact is one who teaches oneself.

Topics about which I consider myself advanced, yet still learning:

  • Autism
  • Cognitive Development (my degree)

I am moderately versed in:

  • information theory,
  • systems theory,
  • chaos theory,
  • set theory

(which I see as all being very related, like the different sides of a pyramid, system theory being the foundation)

  • biology
  • representation of disability in the media
  • learning/teaching (learning is the process of the learner, whether or not they are being expressly “taught”)

I am rather green at but still learning:

  • photography (I’ve been learning more about lighting lately)
  • entomology (bugs!)
  • disability rights


I have taught myself art, to play the tin whistle,  as well as other hobbies.

This is not bragging, though it may seem so. I am aware that I am not an expert at much of anything and quite ignorant concerning much more.

When I want to learn something new, I go about accessing information via the web in text like blogs and articles, in video, in researching the type of print material I may attempt to find, as well as the occasional online tutorial or class. I also try to find a way to create something of my own in order to aid processing, connection building and so long term memory.  Then, I like to share it.

As I discussed  in my technology vlog last week, this is the way many go about learning now, especially the latest generation who are growing up with a never before seen amount of information via technology.


It’s been pointed out by the pedantic, that this method  is not  autodidactic because I am accessing other people’s work, sometimes taking courses, and networking as a means of learning. None of that learning is “self.”  They have a point.  Yet, I’ve never managed to find  a better word for my method of learning until now.

Thanks to Lauren at “Teacher Learns to Code” I was introduced to the book “Experiences in Self Determined Learning.”


This book, describes the method of learning I have  relied on since I became literate  and which really bloomed with the internet.  This learning is heutagogy.

The book contains numerous sources and avenues for further learning, provides examples of how self determined learning occurs, and how it can be encouraged in a variety of environments. It also discusses moving learners more used to traditional methods into the self determined approach.

This is extremely useful to me.

As a homeschooler, this is not the method my children use to learn.

Our homeschool is guided by choice within structure,  relies on Montessori principles, and is customized to the needs of each of the kids. I consider myself a facilitator and not a traditional teacher.

Yet, I would like the children, especially my almost high school aged son, to be even more involved in their learning to the point of self determination.

Keep in mind, this is not unschooling as we have set subjects and time set aside for learning.

I have  record keeping requirements I must fulfill in order to homeschool.

This often clashes with a desire to build self efficacy through achieving goals.  It doesn’t seem to fit with wanting them to be as independent as possible.  I yearn for a way to do so and yet still check off all the requirements AND work in things I do find important.

This book is  helping me think on just how possible it could be to do both.

I am 3/4  a way through, and intend to give it a nice thorough traditional  book review once finished. (this will be the part where I create to better process)

Until then I will say,

IF you wish you could work on giving yourself or your students more independence and increased motivation in the learning process, this book would be a good addition to your library.

To get an overview I recommend reading a blog post by  the  chapter author Jackie Gerstein, concerning her contribution to the book.

Now, to battle with water valves…pray for me.  😉









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