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Learner managed learning: managing to learn or learning to manage?

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A central assumption behind innovations in education and training over the last 20 years has been that learners need to take greater responsibility for the direction and pace of their own learning. The rationale for this is provided by an analysis of the contemporary social and economic order which highlights instability and change as core conditions. A discourse of 'learner-management' has emerged, linked with techniques of personal development planning and recording achievement, which appears to offer learners the possibility for individual autonomy and control. The article examines some of the assumptions embedded in this discourse, questioning the relevance of the rational decision making model, and the origins of the 'character' of the self-managing learner. 'Learner management' is viewed as a discursive form of power, shaping subjective understandings of what it means to be a learner, a manager, a person. It is suggested that this is not the only discourse of learner management available, and that education has a role to play in mapping more creative and diverse forms of learner identity.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: July 1, 2000

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