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Self-Directed Learning in the Age of Digital Networks: The Learning Patterns of Knowledge Workers in the Knowledge Economy

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Self-Directed Learning in the Age of Digital Networks: The Learning Patterns of Knowledge Workers in the Knowledge Economy

Sisley, Mélanie L. (2013) Self-Directed Learning in the Age of Digital Networks: The Learning Patterns of Knowledge Workers in the Knowledge Economy. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This dissertation presents a qualitative analysis of the self-directed learning patterns of knowledge workers within the context of digital networks. The study seeks to address some tensions that exist among educational perspectives on the use of digital networks for learning. Namely that digital networks provide more ‘authentic’ learning experiences by virtue of its quasi immediate access to information for problem solving as well as its more tailored information gathering affordances. On the opposite spectrum, digital networks are said to be diluting critical instincts, ‘herding’ users into like-minded groups and even impairing certain crucial cognitive features. In order to shed light on the debate, this study interviewed eight individuals of the knowledge working community who perform an occupation for which they have no formally recognized certification—therefore creating a natural context for self-directed learning. The
assumption was that these individuals may possess tacit skills to harness and/or mediate the features of digital learning. The participants of the study were asked to provide a ‘recipe’ or a list of ‘ingredients’ for effective self-teaching as well as describe, in general, their learning journeys. The interviews were then analyzed using a qualitative methodology to let emerge a dialectal
account of the themes that surrounded this experience. These themes were classified using Bouchard’s (2009) four-dimensional framework of learning autonomy. The model aims to characterize the elements of autonomy through the conative (motivational), algorithmic (mechanic), semantic (interpretive) and economic dimensions. While recognizing that motivation and mechanics have been the main focus of most educational research of a learning account, the
Bouchard model also includes the role of “meaning making” or the new interpretive implications of rich media as well as the mediating role of economics as a new dimensions that emerged due to digital networks. The results yielded a more comprehensive portrait of the issues that surround
learner autonomy as well as a nuanced characterization of the notion of ‘value’ of learning.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Education
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Sisley, Mélanie L.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Educational Studies
Date:16 November 2013
Thesis Supervisor(s):Bouchard, Paul
Keywords:self-directed learning, networks, knowledge economy, knowledge workers
ID Code:978233
Deposited By: MELANIE L. SISLEY
Deposited On:26 Jun 2014 20:18
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:46
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