"Study without thought is labor lost; thought
without study is perilous." (Confucius)
This paper is drawn from my research-based teaching activity applied to university students of English regarding self-direction and andragogy, in the attempt to establish philosophy and methodology. Since academic teaching is a complex educational process, I will only address the assessment stage of online learning, which may give a diagnosis of the techniques efficiency, the one that signals the need of changes for a presumable improvement. Assessment of online learning takes many forms (objectively-scored tests, subjectively-rated tests, criterion-referenced tests and learner self-evaluation), but I will focus on learner's self-evaluation, a relatively new method in the field of adult education (Rogers and Knowles).
First I choose to start with the hypothesis that undergraduate compulsory education is or should be designed by academic staff as a preparation basis for the alumni continuing professional education, ideally with the revision of the curriculum (Erikson and Piaget). My concerns for lifelong learning that is measured in the form of formative and summative assessment are the core of the paper, on the purpose of presenting how the shift from higher education level to a career-making advancement may happen. I will give an account of both strategies and methods following a stage-based structure from goals to possible achievements.
Then, I will exemplify with a second language acquisition, more specifically with learning idioms and the difficulties in translating them from Turkish to English and vice versa. A student achieves knowledge concerning fixed phrases in the foreign language based on several types of resources and then checks one's own work for errors. The investigation into strong and weak factors of the process will further mark the beginning of a deeper analysis, while the successful review becomes the reference point within the proposed quality assurance activities with relevant general conclusions. Malcolm Knowles's approach will be taken as basis of discussion, including the five major assumptions about adult learners: self-concept, experience, readiness to learn, orientation to learning and motivation to learn. His conception of andragogy stems from the different traditions of psychological analysis: humanist and behavioral. I will investigate how much of his theory or set of assumptions may serve teaching practice. Independent, asynchronous learning is supported by the wide possibilities opened by technology, not being bound by the constraints of space, time and experience.
After the presentation of learning stages and an in-depth description of possible andragogical self-assessment methods, as a conclusion I will look into the educational benefits of allowing students discover their own potential and results, in a trial and error approach, in order to achieve not only new knowledge, but also to develop capabilities in specific areas.
andragogy, self-evaluation, online learning, efficiency, methodology