Self-Directed Learners; How we learn

Self-Directed Learning

So, if everyone is going at their own pace in your Self-Directed community…how do you learn the basics?

Hey there! So glad you are here to join in a conversation with me about WyldFlower! 

If you are wondering what in the world Self-Directed Learning even is-

check out this blog post before you continue!

In this post, I will share about 3 basic ways in which WyldFlower students ‘learn’ all the things they will need to be successful, independent, and ready for life!

  1. Self-Determination Theory and Self-Directed Learning
  2. Learning on Demand- instead of “Just in case”
  3. 4 Cs; Communication, Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration

Please enjoy this short-ish video explaining all the things 🙂 

What we know about people- they are wired to learn! 

They were made for this. 

When given a rich environment full of interesting things, fascinating people, a sense of belonging, and freedom they naturally develop into successful adult humans.


Later in the year, we will move the video from this post to the “How We Learn” page on our website. But for the time being, enjoy a sneak peek! 

Humans are wired to develop knowledge, skills, and intelligence. 

They consistently find unique ways of being and doing. Immersed in opportunities and challenges of the real world, scaled-down, children naturally develop into informed, active adults committed to making their community, and the world, a better place to live.

Self-determination theory (SDT)

This is a broad framework for understanding factors that facilitate or undermine intrinsic motivation and psychological wellness, which are all issues of direct relevance to educational settings.

Conditions supporting the individual’s experience need to include: 

  • Relatedness refers to the need to be cared for and care for others.
  • Competence refers to the need to feel effective in one’s behavior. Own the wins and learn from the losses.
  • Autonomy is the right, or condition of self-government. Also refers to the need to feel that one is acting out of a sense of volition and self-endorsement (Vansteenkiste & Ryan, 2013). 

When someone feels related to others, competent, and like they are acting with a sense of volition, they will be autonomously motivated or self-determined (Deci, 2017; Deci & Ryan, 2012). This is when Self-Directed learning really shines!

Self-Determination Theory

Self-Directed Learner at WyldFlower
Self-Directed learning at WyldFlower. Learning because it’s meaningful and relevant!

What is my motivation? 

Is it coming from within or is it coming from an outside force? Am I being coerced or am I Self-Directed?

According to SDT, play researchers, psychologists, neuroscientists, anthropologists, and almost any doctorate-level researcher looking at humanity, in any department outside of education, knows that humans (in this conversation young humans, aka children) have a natural drive to explore their environments, to grow, learn and develop. 

An important goal of education then is to cultivate this inherent interest that exists within the learner. Not to crush it by forcing curriculum, pacing, and constant evaluation from an external perspective. 

Learning on demand 


Learning just in case 

At WyldFlower, Life is our curriculum and the World is our classroom. 

All Self-Directed learning happens in context and has immediate meaning. There is no abstract process that removes the reason we’re learning from the learning itself. 

Games, play, interest-based inquiry, passion, and curiosity all blend together to create a curriculum that is individualized with precision for each child. 

There has never been a “standard child” and a “standard curriculum” will never measure up to a personalized journey. 

Instead of learning lesson after lesson just in case you see this later, we allow children the chance to learn what they need right then. 

This allows children to practice over and over how they learn best! They are learning how to learn! They discover their preferred way of accessing new information, moving through new concepts, and mastering new skills- 

Do I want a lesson on something? We can do that! It might look a lot like a traditional student-to-teacher interaction for a while.

Would you rather go through a lot of trial and error before you watch a tutorial video? Ok! Go for it!

Would you like to do a deep dive into the topic before you get hands-on? Great. 

Discovery of Self through Self-Directed Learning

The goal is to learn how you, the individual, learn best and capitalize on that!

Students gain confidence and resilience through the process of learning in this environment. 

They become more THEMSELVES in the process of Self-Directed learning. That is the ultimate goal!

Aristotle said, “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Lao Tzu also said, “Knowing others is intelligence; knowing yourself is true wisdom. Mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” 

The world needs them to be fully engaged with life, to shine, and to be unique- all the things- occupy their space, feel their emotions, think their own thoughts- we don’t need cookie-cutter versions of humanity. We need their perspective and life force in the world. 

4Cs Through self-directed learning

These are the “standards” kids really need to thrive in the future.

Experts explain that many jobs that will exist in 10 years aren’t around yet. The specific hard skills needed are unknown.

No matter the field, the consensus on skills adults will need include; Critical Thinking, Creativity, Collaboration, and Communication.


Communication is the practice of conveying ideas quickly and clearly. Much of communication is tech-based and lacks tone which makes transferring ideas clearly and proficiently extremely important.  Still more important is the ability to communicate in person.  This includes minimizing tangents, speaking directly to an idea, and checking other participants to make sure they’re engaged.

Reading an audience — even if it’s just two other people in a group discussion — allows students to determine whether they should keep expanding on an idea or wrap up their point.

Critical Thinking 

The practice of solving problems, among other qualities. In addition to working through problems, solving puzzles, and similar activities, critical thinking also includes an element of skepticism and analysis.


The beginning of thinking outside the box. It is, by definition, laying out one’s own path in creating something novel.  Structuring that process actually hinders it.  You can inspire creativity, but you cannot predict, plan, or control it.  Students use each other as a soundboard, one coming up with an idea or creation that then inspires another student to step out on their own creation.


The practice of working together to achieve a common goal. In today’s world, the saying, “It’s who you know more than what you know,” couldn’t be more true.  Being successful in a profession now requires that you locate other ‘experts’ around you to solve a problem, reach a goal, or create something new.

Thanks so much for dropping by to learn about Self-Directed learning!

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