Visits to and learning activities at museums, galleries and historic sites can be divided into Directed and Self-directed.


Directed visits mean that the participants are taking part in a programme guided by an educator, such as a guided tour, schools workshop, lecture or practical art session.


For more information on planning ‘directed’ learning events go to the Audiences section.


Self-directed learning is when individuals have primary responsibility for planning, implementing and even evaluating their learning. Learning tools, such as trails or on-line resources may still be used, but the participants use them with no or little instruction.


Examples of tools for self-directed learning can be found in the online portrait resource Case Study: Museum Network or the trails for the Scottish Portrait Gallery. Many tools for self-directed learning, however, are discussed in the toolkit ‘How to Interpret and Understand the Language of Portraits‘, such as interactives with exhibition displays.



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