The Organizing Circumstance: Environmental Determinants in Self-Directed Learning:
This study reports a qualitative analysis of interviews conducted with 78 self-directed learners with less than high school completion and who were currently engaged in a learning project. The analysis focused on how and why learners chose particular resources or made other decisions when early analysis failed to detect evidence of conscious pre-planning. Kurt Lewin's view, that to understand human behavior the proper area for study is the individual's life space of field, led the investigators in determining that the structure and direction of learning projects derive from the resources available and apparent to the learner in the environment. The concept of the Organizing Circumstance is formulated and four categories of environmental structuring of learning are identified.