Learning Ability Development in Flexible Learning Environments

  • Saskia Brand-Gruwel
  • Liesbeth Kester
  • Wendy Kicken
  • Paul A. Kirschner


Education has come to recognise the importance of the development of learning ability, that is, the acquisition of self-directed learning (SDL) skills and self-regulated learning (SRL) skills, because these skills equip students for functioning in our constantly changing society as life long learners. To give students the opportunity to develop these skills a flexible learning environment is needed. Such an environment enables learners to determine more or less personalised learning trajectories for themselves. Moreover, a flexible learning environment should be designed in such a way that the acquisition of SRL and SDL skills is supported. In this chapter after addressing the concept of learning ability or more specifically the concepts of SRL and SDL and the way the two are intertwined, the basic elements needed in the design of a flexible learning environment are discussed. The need for well-structured learning materials, assessment criteria, portfolios, advisory models and instructional support for acquiring SRL and SDL skills is discussed.


Learning ability Self-direct learning Self-regulated learning Flexible learning environments 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Saskia Brand-Gruwel
    • 1
  • Liesbeth Kester
    • 1
  • Wendy Kicken
    • 1
  • Paul A. Kirschner
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre for Learning Sciences and TechnologiesOpen Universiteit NederlandHeerlenThe Netherlands

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