The Contribution of Self-Directed Strategies to the Development of Adult Metacognition at Higher Maritime Education and Training

Self-directed learning, “an approach enabling to engage learners in the learning process “to acquire higher-order thinking outcomes” (Borich , 2004 : 294), should be the primary focus at higher maritime education and training. This focus could be attributed to such peculiar characteristics of adult learning as the willingness to put the knowledge and skills gained immediately into practice, the high interests in learning the subject matters directly related to their profession, the wealth of experience already owned, and enthusiasm in conducting their own cognitive strategies up to metacognitive levels resulting in “higher-order thinking” and “life long learning”. This study aims to seek possible means of engaging adult learners at higher maritime education and training in the learning process through effective use of self-directed learning strategies so as to promote their metacognition. The problem based discussion sessions are thought to provide the promising environment for this purpose. Hence, the practices conducted at the higher maritime education and training institution, where the authors teach, are analyzed, which will include the learners’ perceptions. The study comprises four parts. The first part highlights the basic requirements in effective adult learning. The second part focuses on the importance of raising cognitive strategies up to metacognitive levels. The third part analyzes the practices experienced, which includes learners’ perceptions through “Higher-order Thinking and Problem Solving Checklist.” The fourth part highlights the results of accompanying discussions on the aspects that need to be improved.