Title

A Qualitative Investigation of Self-directed Learning in Senegal, West Africa and Its Implications for Human Resource Development

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Fall 10-1-2012

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the current status of self-directed learning by SME leaders in Senegal, West Africa, and then to identify some of the human resource development (HRD) implications. This qualitative study collected data through two sets of interviews. First, eight leaders who were either the owner or manager of SMEs in Senegal were interviewed through questions that focused on the four factors that Confessore (1992) identified as necessary for autonomous learning: (a) desire, (b) resourcefulness, (c) initiative, and (d) persistence. Results were then discussed while incorporating the importance of understanding some of the basic elements of Senegalese culture and the impact that the French educational system has had on the country. There were three HRD Senegalese professionals who participated in the second set of interviews that provided additional insights into potential HRD implications in the country of Senegal. Results from both sets of interviews suggest that the Senegalese as a whole possess the Confessore’s four factors needed for autonomous learning, but they are extremely weak in the area of self-efficacy, providing an important opportunity for HRD leaders to help the Senegalese develop their businesses and their country. An important question for self-directed learning emerges: if people are found to be self-directed learners, yet fail to utilize the knowledge gained because of a lack of self-efficacy, is there a benefit to self-directed learning?

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