Undergraduate students take a significant step into uncharted territory at the start of their Academic career. They have to quickly define and understand the nature of independent study. Is it a process, or a philosophy of education whereby a learner simply acquires knowledge, which will lead to the granting of a degree?
I think Independent Study is easily analysed by looking at the Self Directed Learning Cycle (Tawse) as seen above.
Critical to the success of this learning cycle is the development of a learning agreement between the student and the tutor. This learning agreement, (contract), must then be embraced by both and rigorous management must in ensue to realise quality output. As an example of this in my own practice were the learning agreements were rolled out fairly successfully I need to refer back to two Modules I taught whilst at Northumbria University: ‘Applied Technical Skills in Media Production’ and ‘DigiMarketing Media Practice’. Both involved the learning of complex technical equipment and sophisticated software prior to the application of that learning on a creatively executed project. The student is guided on the learning journey, given deadlines and encouraged to achieve manageable outputs through both taught and self directed learning.