The Significant Individual Learning model (SIL) was developed by Nir Golan, educational and leadership expert, by assimilating the next four principles:
1. The independent learner: the perception of oneself as an independent entity. A person sees him/herself as someone who is self-directed; choosing what to learn, how much and how to learn it.
2. Adapting learning to that person's needs: the person is ready to learn when he/she needs that specific learning process, and it is incorporated into daily tasks and social functioning. He/she sees that the learning process serves his/her personal development.
3. Renovating learning: In the digital age where there is widespread availability of network information, learning should give news and added value to the learner.
4. Immediate and practical learning: The main motive for human learning is for problem solving. The learner has a need for the immediate application of the learned material, so learning has to be more focused in giving solutions to the particular problem.
Daniel H. Pink in "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us", supports these four principles.
The SIL model assumes that the distinction between children and adults is no longer relevant in the digital age and that each student should be treated as a 'whole' person irrespective of their age.
Anthropogogy: The study of human learning
(Greek) – Anthrop (άνθρωπ) means people and Agy (άγω) means to conduct / lead.
Nir Golan offers a new definition of Anthropogogy as: "Leading a person (regardless of age) throughout significant learning towards behavioral change that can be implemented immediately." (Golan, 2014)
Here are a few initiatives that fit with Pink’s revised motivation theory which support the SIL model:
Autonomy – provide learners with autonomy over some (or all) of the four main aspects:
• When they do it (time) – Consider switching to a ROLE (results-only learning environment) which focuses more on the output (result) rather than the time/schedule, allowing learners to have flexibility over when they complete tasks.
• How they do it (technique) – Don’t dictate how learners should complete their tasks. Provide initial guidance and then allow them to tackle the project in the way they see fit rather than having to follow a strict procedure.
• Whom they do it with (team) – Although this can be the hardest form of autonomy to embrace, allow learners some choice over who they learn with. Allow learners to work on open-source projects where they have the ability to assemble their own teams.
• What they do (task) – Allow learners to have regular ‘creative’ days where they can learn on any project/problem they wish – there is empirical evidence which shows that many new initiatives are often generated during this ‘creative free time’.
Mastery – allow learners to become better at something that matters to them:
• Provide “Goldilocks tasks” – Pink uses the term “Goldilocks tasks” to describe those tasks which are neither overly difficult nor overly simple – these tasks allow learners to extend themselves and develop their skills further. The risk of providing tasks that fall short of an learner’s capabilities is boredom, and the risk of providing tasks that exceed their capabilities is anxiety.
• Create an environment where mastery is possible – to foster an environment of learning and development, four essentials are required – autonomy, clear goals, and immediate feedback and Goldilocks tasks.
Purpose – take steps to fulfill learner’s natural desire to contribute to a cause greater and more enduring than them:
• Communicate the purpose – make sure learners know and understand the learning's purpose goals not just its profit goals. Learners, who understand the purpose and vision of their school and how their individual roles contribute to this purpose, are more likely to be satisfied in their class.
This significant learning model (SIL) provides tools for the teacher to assimilate the Anthropogogy approach in six steps, throughout which the teacher uses dialogue in order to guide the learner. The six steps are:
1. Action- doing
2. Behavior- conceptualization of the action
3. Norm- transformation of the behavior to a norm
4. Value- defining the value in the behavior
5. Redefinition- redefinition of my unique identity
6. Teaching- Using the Anthropogogy model to teach the other
Details of the six stages of the Anthropogogy significant learning model:
1. Action- carrying out an action for the first time in response to an internal or external need. The teacher identifies and reflects the need of the learner: leading him/her to do what they did not do previously. The learner performs the action for the first time together with coaching from a professional person. The learner then experiences the consequences of his/her action and evaluates his/her response.
• The result of Step 1: Recognizing by the learner his/her need and the actual carrying out of the action for the first time (alongside reflection).
2. Behavior- conceptualization of the action:
The learner repeats the action using clear quality and quantity measurements. The learner then describes the action, helping him/her to improve the repeated action and transfer it into standard behavior.
• The result of Step 2: Conceptualizing behavior and standardizing it according to the expectations.
3. Norm- transformation of the behavior into the norm:
Norm is defined as "a standard of achievement or behavior that is required, desired or designated as normal." … These standards of behavior are "shared by members of a social group to which each member is expected to conform." In this step, the behavior is transformed into norm and expected behavior.
• The result of Step 3: Understanding by the learner of the benefits of turning the behavior into the norm in order to reinforce the behavior in a social context.
4. Value- defining the value in the behavior:
The meaning of the behavior is defined to the learner as well as the benefits that may be gained from the norm to the learner and to his/her surroundings. The value then becomes the guiding principle to making future decisions connected to the behavior; helping decide when and how to use this behavior. In this manner, the behavior becomes more significant.
• The result of Step 4: Defining the value of the behavior by making it significant.
5. Redefinition of my unique identity- self-identity redefined
The values are acknowledged by the learner and assist in redefining his/her unique identity. The learner knows how to describe their newly unique identity and explain what their unique contribution is to those around them. Although the learning process affected one behavior, it helped to redefine his/her whole identity to him/herself.
• The result of Step 5: Reformulating a unique identity by the learner.
6. Teaching- Using the Anthropogogy model to teach the other
The learner becomes the teacher ("Melamed"). The learner uses his/her personal experience as a role model and teaches the other using his/her own unique identity. He/She applies the Anthropogogy model to lead a new learner to significant learning.
• The result of Step 6: Continuity of the learning process according to the Anthropogogy model to achieve significant learning for the learner and for the teacher.