Establishing the right ecosystem that motivates the development of positive lifelong learning habits is essential. Having a clear understanding of one’s purpose (see Element 1) sets the course for a learner. This sense of purpose can be strengthened by learners having a clear understanding of the values that they hold. For many children and teenagers, this would be linked to the underlying values of their families. But many may never have considered identifying, let alone labelling or listing, those values that are personally important. This is important because the wider culture of a community emerges from a combination of the purpose, values and vision of its individuals.
Personal values, once articulated and understood, should provide the foundation for success in learning. Personal values can underpin an individual’s persistence and resilience as a self-directed learner. While it is important that an organisation might have a set of clearly stated collective values, it is equally important for individuals to not only consider, but live by an understanding of the values that exemplify who they are. These might be values such as acceptance, integrity, honesty, grit, compassion etc. What is important is that learners undergo a personal journey to understand the relevance of having a clear set of consistent values that not only enhance their own self-directed learning, but can also be used to support learning in collaborative contexts.
Linked to personal values is the role played by an individual’s ability to envision a future for themselves. Such an envisioning process, someone’s ‘imagined future,’ might be specific, perhaps identifying where they wish to live, what career they might have and the activities or context of their life. An example of such vision might be an individual’s perspective of ‘dreaming big.’ This self-vision might know no limits, effectively sitting alongside a personal sense of purpose and values, providing even greater direction.