The terms self learning, self study, and self directed learning are becoming more and more prevalent today.
People are rightfully asking, is it worth spending all that money on a degree when all the information is readily available for me? Why not go for it myself?
I explored the topic below…
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Here’s Why Self learning Is Easy:
Self-learning can be easy because, as the name suggests, it’s all centered around you. You can learn at your own pace, which means you can take time to grasp complex subjects. You can also learn whatever topics you’re interested in, keeping you motivated. Self-learning, however, also comes with its challenges.
Today, I would like to share with you what self-learning is and what steps it involves. I will also explain the importance of self-learning and its many advantages. Keep reading to explore the world of self-learning with me.
Recommended reading: Here’s why self-learning is hard.
What Is Self learning?
Self-learning is where you learn new information on your own. While usually, you’d learn things at school with a teacher, self-learning means you go out and explore that information by yourself.
Since you’re the one starting it, you can go however fast or however slow you want to.
This doesn’t mean you need to or should replace formal education with self study — don’t go burning those textbooks just yet. Obviously, formal training has its advantages as well, like if you’re trying to get a degree. But self-learning does still carry a lot of benefits.
According to the University of Waterloo, the self-learning procedure involves four main steps:
Step No. 1: Find Out if Self-studying Is Right for You
Self-learning begins when you ask yourself, “Is this right for me?” Because trust me, it’s not for everyone. You need to be very disciplined because no teacher or other authority is holding you accountable for the work you do.
To help you out, you could always try to get an accountability buddy. Check for people who could potentially become part of your support system.
Do you have friends or family who are willing to encourage you on your self-learning journey?
If so, you might be able to jump into self-learning even if you aren’t the most organized.
Step No. 2: Write Down Your Self-learning Goals
Ugh, I know. Having to set goals and clear expectations sounds like school all over again, doesn’t it?
Still, if you’re going to stick with it, goals are far from a bad thing. They can help keep you motivated. If you keep track of them, you’ll be able to see how far you’ve come and have an idea of what you’re learning next.
The alternative is having no systems in place, so your lessons wind up amounting to a few random Google searches and money down the drain for online classes you never took. That doesn’t sound effective nor fun.
Recommended Reading: How to improve your note-taking skills.
Step No. 3: Establish Your Self-learning Style
Here we go back to school again. Whether you were homeschooled or enrolled in a traditional school, or went to a fancy private school, chances are you know what your learning style is.
Think back to when you were in school — how did you learn best? Did you have rigid systems in place like calendars and to-do lists, or did you go more free-form and still get everything in on time? Do you do better with visual media like videos, or do you prefer reading a book?
Your learning style will end up being a lot more involved than that, of course. The ultimate goal of all this is to ask yourself what worked in the past so you can replicate that when you’re self-learning.
Recommended Reading: Is being self-taught good?
Step No. 4: Undergo Self-evaluation of Your Learning Progress
Alright, so now that you’ve got your goals in place and everything set, the time comes to evaluate where you stand. Did you meet your goals, or are you falling short of them? Did the methods you set up work, or does your learning style turn out to be different from what you thought?
You might think this stage is a bad thing, but don’t let it be. You’re not a failure if you fail to meet your goals. All it means is that you need to adapt.
It’s A-okay to lower your expectations if you find out they’re too high, or to start watching more video courses if you find books boring. Self-learning isn’t a one-and-done thing — it’s an active process of evaluation and re-evaluation. Eventually, you’ll find what works for you.
These are some of the things that you can use during your self-learning adventure:
- Online Courses: You can find plenty of paid online courses designed to replace traditional classes. Sometimes finding the right course can be a bit hit or miss. Still, there are typically some fantastic resources available if you know where to look. Or, if you don’t want to, you don’t have to pay a dime. There are tons of structured courses on YouTube and other free sites waiting to be discovered. Tip: Check out our posts on Masterclass, Udemy, and Skillshare to find out more about some great online course platforms.
- Tutorial Videos: If you’re learning more hands-on skills, you’ll want to watch some tutorial videos. The great thing about this is that most of them are free. You can find cooking tutorials, sewing tutorials, and more.
- Books: When it comes to self-learning, sometimes it’s good to go old-school. You can find plenty of encyclopedias, textbooks, and other non-fiction books out there. You can even hit up your local library to see if they have some relevant books available. E-books, audiobooks, and blogs (or other online resources) can all be considered great resources included in this same category. Tip: How do books make us better?
- Educational Apps and Games: You might think these are only for kids, but that’s not true at all! Educational games exist so you can have fun while learning all kinds of things. They have plenty out there for coding and other subjects.
Advantages of Self-learning
There are several major advantages to choosing the path of self-studying:
Freedom to Focus On Your Favorite Topics
You might have a wide variety of interests, or you might want to dive deep into a single topic. Whatever you want to learn, it’s entirely up to you.
Recommended Reading: Can you learn while listening to music?
Flexibility of Schedule
While traditional classes usually force you to go to classes on a tight schedule, when you’re self-learning, you’re in charge. If you think you should have a piano class at 3 A.M., then go for it! (Just don’t wake up the neighbors.)
Complete Control of Learning Speed
We all know the struggle of being in classes that drag on way too long. Or, on the other hand, you might have a teacher that talks so fast you have no idea what they just said. Thankfully you can avoid all this when you’re self-learning.
Struggling with a topic? Then just go slower that day.
Find a topic that’s kindergarten-level for you? Then crank up that speed dial.
Freedom To Choose Learning Materials
I mentioned this earlier, but whether you’re a video person or you like having your nose in a book, you can learn however you want with self-learning. You could even incorporate less-traditional learning methods like podcasts. It’s all up to you!
Importance of Self-learning
Okay, so you’ve seen the step-by-step process for self-learning and its advantages. But why is it important? What does self-learning bring that nothing else can?
It Keeps You Relevant
The internet contains a ton of current information that classes sometimes lag behind on. It makes sense, considering it’s expensive to order hundreds of new textbooks when they only changed a couple of chapters. When you’re self-learning, though, you have access to all the latest developments for constantly evolving fields.
Recommended Reading: Does learning ever end?
It Allows You to Gain Confidence as You Gain More Skills
The more skills you learn, the more confidence you will have to face life and other people. You will have an inner awareness that you have abilities that you can share with others.
It Improves Your Brain Health in a Fun Way
While you’re having fun learning all your favorite topics, you might not realize that it’s actually benefiting your health. A study by the Journal of Memory and Language reveals that self-paced learning can improve your memory performance.
Recommended Reading: Is learning good for the brain?
Self-learning is truly a great thing in this world.
While it can’t completely replace the benefits of traditional classes, you can educate yourself in a fun way through it. You can go at your own pace and learn whatever you want. It even has benefits for your self-esteem and confidence.
I hope this blog post encourages you to begin your self-learning journey today.