Self-education is the process of learning in the absence of a supervisor or tutor and without being in a traditional classroom. The student is fully in control of what and how he or she learns.
While self-study can help students perform better in school, it’s also quite helpful if you need to learn a completely new concept or skill. Perhaps you’d like to learn a new language, to play an instrument or to use new software, you can always take active steps to learn by yourself.
You don’t have to wait on your professors to walk you through every topic in school. You can now take two steps ahead by learning new concepts by yourself or broaden your knowledge of familiar concepts because of the vast amount of resources and materials available online.
To properly self-learn, all you need to get started is a conducive study location and the right materials- PC, notebook, pen, highlighter etc. If you’ll be learning to use an instrument, you’ll also need something to practice with.
Tips for Effective Self-Education
Identify specific learning goals: Because of the vast amount of information available and the ease of accessibility, you must be careful not to get overwhelmed.
For starters, define your learning goal. This first step is essential as it’ll determine how much effort you’ll be willing to invest in learning. Having a clear ‘why’ also gives you an idea of how much time it’ll take to hit your goals.
Read useful materials: Whether you’re trying to master a difficult topic or learn the ropes of a new art or skill, you can’t escape reading. There are lots of books, literature reviews, and articles available on different subjects.
You might be surprised to find blogs dedicated to your specific area of interest. Do some research online or visit your local library to find helpful materials. Once you’ve got a few to work with, start studying at your pace.
Watch tutorial videos: For visual learners, this is important. There are countless videos to assist you on your self-learning journey. It’s easy to consume hours at a time on comedy, dance, and other random entertaining videos on YouTube.
From scientific concepts to business and any digital skill you can think of, chances are someone has put out useful content on that subject. Even though a good amount of research is required, you can be sure a few searches will quickly set you on the right path.
Use educational applications: You don’t have to spend every free time you have on social media. You can make the most of your leisure time with useful applications, especially with educational games.
Start by exploring Duolingo (for those who’d like to learn a new language), AnkiDroid (for memorisation), word games (to improve your vocabulary) etc. Apps like these are a really fun way to learn something new under minimal pressure.
Practice and practice some more: How do you retain the information you learn or measure your progress? You need to practice and flex your muscles in that area. Draw some pictures, practice explaining a difficult concept to your colleagues, create a song or write an article.
Perfection isn’t required just yet. In fact, constant practicing will only gradually move you towards perfection. Constantly assess your ability, so you’ll know which area needs more work.
Take online courses: There are lots of free courses online you can learn with. If you’d be willing to shell out some cash, you’ll get even more value.
For example, on VarsityScape, we host live online classes to not only teach on-demand content but also make sure learners are learning in the most effective way possible- with a mixture of interactive sessions and active feedback from instructors.
So before joining a course, check the outline to see if the knowledge and approach will benefit you. This way, you can study from any location, at your own pace, on your own terms and improve your knowledge.
With proper self-learning, you are fully in charge; you get a deep understanding of the concept and are able to learn more effectively. That’ll instill confidence in you and your attitude to studying, in general, becomes more positive.
If you’re learning by yourself, you are, however, likely to structure your learning pace to suit your schedule and if you get distracted by some other engagements, you answer to no one (except yourself). How convenient!
Cohort-based live sessions hosted on VarsityScape offer the best of both worlds- a convenient and flexible learning process that provides just enough accountability and interaction to encourage higher completion rates and effective learning.
If you want to reap the benefits of self-education, there’s only one thing left to do. Get started! While it sounds like it’d be totally fun, it’s not always cupcakes and rainbows. With most things in life, it could get difficult or demanding.
However, with a clear vision of what you’d like to achieve alongside a sprinkle of consistency and persistence with the foundation of a trusted system like what VarsityScape provides, you’ll soon get results you can be proud of.
What new thing would you like to learn?