OUTCOMES-BASED SELF-DIRECTED UNIVERSITY STUDIES
AbstractThe relevance of the theoretical study was to show the components of self-directed studies and internal and external factors having an impact on them as well as competences as the main learning outcomes. The relevance of the empirical study was to find out results of self-directed studies of the first and third year students of Latvia University of Agriculture (LLU) according to indicators. The results of the indicators showed stronger and weaker sides of teaching/learning quality and allowed to make conclusions for further actions. Therefore self-directed studies can be analysed as an instrument of increasing students’ learning success. The term “self-directed studies” was replaced by the term “self-directed learning” (SDL) in the study because it is used in adult education and students’ learning also refers to the results of SDL investigations. SDL involves such qualities as responsibility, purposefulness and activity, and therefore the students are in the process of self-evaluation and decisions about their learning outcomes which are understood as knowledge, skills and competence. SDL was considered in the study as a process where each individual actively keeps cognition, emotions, motivation and activities which are systematically oriented towards reaching of personal goals. The method of questionnaire was used to investigate the students’ self-evaluation on their SDL focusing on attitude, study environment and tutors’ support. The questionnaire results served as a means of revision of the students’ and lecturers’ understanding of the quality of studies. The main results of the study were obtained from the fields of engineering, agriculture and veterinary medicine, food technology and economics students of Latvia University of Agriculture. The results of the indicators showed that the quality improvements are necessary in the field of students’ purposefulness and responsibility towards learning rise as well as more efforts should be taken to change students’ attitude towards desire to implement innovations in their professional field and to improve learning environment.
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