How can you learn by yourself and direct your own learning?

Self-directed is a relatively new concept. We can well say that it’s a decade old concept. This makes us think of Eklavya, a tribal, from the epic Mahabharata who learnt archery all by himself. In fact, he was a perfect example of self-directed learning. Self-directed learning doesn’t mean we deride the need to a teacher, it just means we reduce practical dependence on him.

What to expect in a self-directed learning?

When selecting an online distance course there are a few things in the checklist we have to tick. This is to see how ready we are for that level of self-directed learning.

  • Objectively, look at your study habits, family situation, and self-discipline. You must accept constructive feedback well because faculty often don’t have the time to sugarcoat during an online course.
  • Talking about study goals between a student and the advising instructor is critical. Also critical in understanding the goals between students and instructors.
  • The learning has to be structured with a sequences of activities. 

Depending on the study goals the approach to learning and teaching can either be deep and conceptual, strategic and planned, or surface. However, usually, strategic and surface approaches can’t be sufficient for independent study.

Finally, when your study is self-directed and independent you need to learn to evaluate your learning. You must design your own devices to know if you are applying what you have learnt and if you have learnt enough.

At the end of the day, successful independent study requires certain responsibilities or roles of both students and advising faculty members. The following is a brief list of the more important roles. It is useful for both students and advising faculty members to periodically review this list and communicate as to whether each feels the other is fulfilling their share of the responsibility.

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