There is usually a teacher or mentor present in most learning situations. However, what if there isn’t one? Is learning without the help of a teacher possible?
There are many various approaches to picking up a new skill, whether you need it for a job or simply want to learn something new for fun.
This article will show you how you can learn without a teacher while also making it enjoyable and engaging.
Here’s Why You Don’t Need a Teacher for Learning:
Teachers are definitely helpful when it comes to learning. The best ones make learning fun and offer fantastic guidance. Still, they aren’t necessary if you are very self-motivated and have a passion for what you are learning. If you are highly interested in a specific area, you can find many methods to become an expert in that area, even without a teacher.
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Now, this isn’t to say that a great teacher or mentor won’t help you learn. It is just pointing out that you CAN still learn something without that assistance.
In traditional education systems, lesson plans and curriculums are organized in a highly systematic fashion. They are meant to cover a lot of bases and improve general knowledge in several areas.
This can work out well, as we can ensure that we have a decent basis of knowledge as a society. Still, it forces us to learn a lot about things we might not be very interested in.
This can make it hard to be motivated about learning, and for some of us, this associates negative feelings with education.
The truth is learning, particularly self-learning, can be a lot of fun, and you don’t need a teacher for this.
With our intrinsic curiosity to find solutions and discover more about topics we are genuinely interested in, you can learn a lot. All we need is to do some research, find the right media for good information, and then practice or study.
You can and are learning all the time!
Today, more information is available to you than ever, and it’s all practically free to access.
Find a topic or many areas you are passionate about and follow the road your curiosity leads you down.
Recommended Reading: Does learning ever end?
How To Learn Without a Teacher
Here are some ways that you can facilitate learning without the help of a teacher:
Curiosity is the first step toward learning anything. You will be driven to continue learning if you have a thirst for knowledge.
Research conducted by the University of California indicates that our brains become more receptive to learning when curious. The learning process will become more fun because we want to satisfy a degree of interest.
Furthermore, according to the Harvard Business Review, individuals curious about their work were 34% more inventive, less receptive to pressure and provocation, more empathic with others, and better communicators.
If you can arouse genuine interest, the learning experience will become more successful and enjoyable. Let yourself think critically and be genuinely curious about the learning situations that pique your curiosity. Begin with a goal in mind.
Do Your Research
The most crucial step in learning a new skill is, of course, research. When I’m trying to learn a new subject on my own, I usually go through 3 stages:
1. Understanding the Fundamentals
Almost everything is on the internet nowadays, so the first thing on the agenda is to look it up on Google! A well-phrased query on Google or another search engine will yield a plethora of knowledge on any subject in a matter of seconds.
The first thing I search for is essential information, followed by expert work. These include blogs written by experts in their fields, discussion forums, organizational websites, publications, and even YouTube videos.
My aim is to get a broad understanding of the topic from which I can then further dig down.
It’s easy to stay up to date as you can subscribe to different news sources and thought leaders in the space you are interested in.
2. Getting Into the Specifics
Once I have an overview of the topic I am interested in learning about, I try to organize a plan. This is a very fluid process, as it can change a lot over time as I know more about the topic.
If I know nothing about the subject, I’ll look to find a roadmap that will get me from beginner to more advanced knowledge. If I have some knowledge, I’ll identify where I’m weaker and then see how I can improve in these areas.
Now that I have developed a plan for what steps I will take to learn, I look at what primary sources I will use.
Depending on what I am looking to learn, this can be a variety of things. Here are some of my go-to’s:
- Video Content – YouTube, documentaries
- Online Courses – Udemy, Skillshare, MasterClass, etc.
- Social Media – Facebook groups, forums, Twitter
It is common for me to use a combination of several of the sources mentioned above.
A great way to find learning resources is by figuring out where the people passionate about the topic hang out. Maybe there is a lot of activity in online forums, or perhaps there are frequent conferences or meetups.
Find out where the experts spend their time and follow or mirror them.
Practice What You’ve Learned
Applying knowledge is the most effective method for retaining it. When I try to study something on my own, I look for a practical application to use what I’ve learned.
When learning a new language, for example, the best way to make progress is by using it with a fluent speaker or a fellow student. By doing this, learners will become more confident with their studies and will help them recall what they’ve learned better.
Project-oriented learning, in which you make or create something as you study, is an excellent technique to develop a self-learning experience.
For example, if you’re learning graphic design, you may take some time to create a small online service or a portfolio to practice your skills.
The goal is to stay motivated throughout the learning journey. Anything that can be used as a real-life example of the subject you’re learning will be helpful.
Don’t be discouraged if at first you aren’t very good. Every expert was a beginner at one point.
Try not to compare your own journey to someone else’s and keep taking tiny steps forward. Before you know it, you’ll be the one handing out advice to others and maybe even considered an expert even though you may not feel that way.
Recommended Reading: Is self-learning hard?
Grow Your Network
They say you become the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. This ideology can also be transferred over to learning.
If you want to learn more and become better at something, it’s very helpful to hang out with people who are also at least interested in the space or experts. Although you may be the least knowledgeable at first, as you learn more, you will contribute more. Eventually, you will all help each other improve.
Today finding like-minded and interested people is easier than ever. There are plenty of communities online if it is difficult to find some in-person groups or clubs.
You don’t have to enroll in a formal program or hire an instructor if you want to learn. Allow your curiosity to lead you to new levels of understanding through self-learning.
There are plenty of tools available online to assist you, so go ahead and learn anything you want, at any time, and in any way.