A Group-Selected Award for Self-Directed Learning

A Regent University School of Education (SOE) professor accepted public recognition for personal efforts to feed his hunger for knowledge. Dr. Michael Ponton received the Malcom Knowles Memorial Self-Directed Learning Award at the International Self-Directed Learning Symposium held in Cocoa Beach, Florida, Feb. 3-7. Two decades of Ponton’s career are concentrated on this type of learning, and he is now being honored by those he used to study.

“I am honored that my approximately 20 years of research and writing in self-directed learning has been recognized by such esteemed scholars, many of whom I cited in my dissertation years ago!” said Ponton. “The Malcolm Knowles Memorial Self-Directed Learning Award is given for ‘significant lifelong contributions to the field of self-directed learning’; thus, selection is based upon a significant body of work deemed important to the field by previous recipients.”

Self-directed learning happens when a student intentionally chooses to create and participate in a learning activity for personally desirable reasons. This shapes personal development based upon a person’s motivation, efficacy, responsibility and agency.

“Self-directed learning is important because it allows a person to help influence how his or her life will unfold,” said Ponton. “I enjoy studying this phenomenon because it represents empowerment of the individual, which is something that I hope my students will internalize during their matriculation.”

Ponton continues his self-directed learning adventure as one of two associate editors for the “International Journal of Self-Directed Learning.” He was appointed by the Board of Directors of the International Society for Self-Directed Learning. Dr. Alan Arroyo, SOE dean, says this annually renewable appointment is quite an honor, as it reflects the Board’s high regard for Ponton as a scholar and researcher of self-directed learning.

“In this role, I will support the work of the editor in administering the vetting process, making final acceptance decisions, and editing manuscripts,” said Ponton. “With respect to the IJSDL, I have served on its editorial board since 2004, received two service awards for my board work and have authored/co-authored nine included articles.”