Self-directed learning (SDL) lets learners and students take ownership over parts of their educational program. In simple terms, the student works with their teacher to set educational goals, and then the student has total freedom to figure out how to reach their objective.
Rather than get stuck following a rigid one-size-fits-all curriculum, students instead get to learn at their own pace, following their own methods and according to their own passions, which unsurprisingly often leads to superior educational outcomes.
Instead of following chapters in textbooks with 30 classmates on subjects they might not be passionate about, they instead work with their educational partners to ask questions, disassemble challenges and conquer subjects close to their hearts. However, traditional school settings can’t accomodate the needs of every individual, which leads to some students falling behind, while others are never challenged to reach their full potential. Beyond educational success, there is also the danger that students lose their natural love of learning and fearlessness of failure.
Self-directed learning on the other hand is popular because it meets the needs of each learner according to their individual needs, and it is becoming increasingly mainstream as technology has reached a level to deliver a first-class education to everyone anywhere in the world. With access to the internet and the right tools, any student can learn about any subject on any timescale, according to the exacting needs of the most rigorous exam boards and certifications.
Certainly, self-directed Learning has a range of benefits for students and their families alike. Both in terms of the direct educational outcomes from empowering students to control their learning, and from the skills they need to develop in order to achieve this, learners receive a lasting and deep advantage over their peers.
The primary benefit at the front of the minds of students and their families will be on educational performance. Happily, there is a strong statistical correlation between self-directed learning and educational performance, especially in young adults.
At Brave Academy we see this first hand in our learners, and the reasons for it are clear.
– Students can discover which learning styles suit them best (whether it be tactile, written, oral e.t.c) as they progress on their educational journey. This then means they can then replicate these methods in their other fields of study guaranteeing further success in all their other studies. In traditional schools, the students instead must follow whichever method the class teacher mandates, which obviously disadvantages some students.
– Students can pursue subjects which genuinely excite them, which in turn leads to learning becoming a fun experience. The link between pleasure and motivation in school settings is well established, which is an area non-SDL schools have trouble with.
– Students need to use digital learning methods, especially when working in a geographically distributed group. When students have a varied range of digital means to enhance their learning, they are more likely to see increased levels of motivation and success.
– Many students with specific educational needs, such as having ADHD or being on the autustic-spectrum for example, are often better served in the SDL model. When students are able to deeply engage with a subject of their choosing on their own, they are able to ignore all external distractions and focus for greater lengths of time, and learn at a pace that works for them.
After education is complete, the benefits of SDL continue to aid learners. The world of work is rapidly changing and SDL equips students with the skills they need to not just survive, but thrive above their peers from traditional schools.
At Brave Academy, key components in our SDL method foster skills in time management, autonomous working, collaboration, problem solving, strategic planning, decision making and applying theory into practice, which are skills in high demand.
– Collaborative skills are built and reinforced constantly throughout the learners education. Students will need to collaborate not just with teachers and family members, but peers from different cultures and age groups. This enhances a much in demand skill for the modern workplace.
– Students build strong and desirable digital skills. The learner will often spend large amounts of time researching and producing projects online which in turn makes them highly proficient in a wide range of digital technologies while at the same time making them more critical of online sources.
Meeting your educational targets and being fully prepared to succeed in your career are frequently the main goals for students and their families, but the benefits of SDL are more holistic and transcend these benefits.
Self-directed learning is not just about helping students to achieve educationally, but to help them become more rounded and happier individuals with a clearer sense of purpose and value within their communities.
– Students feel more empowered and confident to follow their own passions without worrying about the negative systemic reinforcement and restrictions from curriculums and teachers who might mistake being inadequately motivated for laziness. This means learners complete their educational journey with a positive sense of their strengths and weaknesses.
– Hardwork and dedication is demanded from SDL, which is a life-long skill that can’t be taught in normal school settings. Although SDL encourages fun, at Brave Academy we know first hand that it can never be called easy.
Self-directed learning is an alternative model for learners that helps them get first-class qualifications and follow established world-leading curriculums, while also allowing them to achieve more, discover a joy for learning and become more rounded individuals.
To discover all the benefits and find out if it is right for you, click here and contact us at Brave Academy.
November 25, 2020, Cascais
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