Self-directed learning is a learning approach where individuals are taking the initiative with assistance or no assistant from peers and educators in identifying their learning needs, exploring different ways of learning and becoming responsible on how assimilation and accommodation of knowledge will emerge. Often self-directed students assess and compare prior knowledge and learning experiences as means to understand gaps and misconceptions so they can address them. This may help them to set learning goals in various levels such as goals for the entire semester, goals for a particular lesson or goals for a specific learning activity. Students that are self-directed and autonomous may ask questions such as: 'What are my needs?", "How am I going to achieve them? "What learning resources do I need in order to achieve my goals?" What support and guidance do I expect from my teacher?" "What support and guidance do I expect from my peers?" "How do I need to prepare for assessment?" What time do I have for completing assignments and final assessment? "How do I manage my time effectively?". "What are the rules and deadlines for competing assignments and coursework"?
Students also may beed to decide on their own learning approach to study. For example a deep learning approach may require for the student to explore and investigate concepts in depth, ask questions, identify different viewpoints and having an open viewpoint to solving problems. A strategic approach may also be relevant in terms of strategising on how workload will be handled or how learning content will be learned. Strategic learning may be about learning the necessary knowledge and material that would allow the student to meet their own personal learning goals and achieve the grades that they look after.
Self-directed learning can be instantiated in different GBL environments such as Second Life , Scratch , Minecraft , Gamestar Mechanic , and Simaula among others. It is clear that self-direction comes with personal engagement and when subject content aligns with students needs and interests.