Why it is important that I understand what independent learning is? Independent learning is a learning method that can be used as a tool by students to help achieve their final goal. It is important for students to understand what independent learning is particularly when planning on pursuing higher education as they will be expected to use their own initiatives while learning a wide range of materials. However, while this essay is to argue the importance of independent learning, it is also important to note that working and sharing learning methods with and from peers also contributes to success.
Independent learning can also be described as a method where students acquire a wide range of knowledge. Factors that contribute to this can be self-motivation, keen interest in specific subjects and ability to recognise the importance of success in life. This type of learning could also give students a chance to self-discover themselves and their individual needs as well as their potentials, strengths and weaknesses.
Self-discovery is important in a student life specially while attending higher education as it will put things in perspective for the student and helps to set objectives towards improvements that need to be made. The idea of Independent learning should be encouraged more in schools as it could potentially save teachers time as well as give students flexible and more time to catch up on other work activities. In contrast, Independent learning shouldn’t necessarily be seen as a student just working in his/her own at all times (The Higher education academy, 2013). It should be made possible where a situation of group learning is put in place while at the same time individual goals can be reached independently by the students. Typically this way of learning can help students develop a trustful relationship with their mentor. It could also be a way to let the instructor know that his/her student is able to follow the agreed guidance or the type of help the student may require.
This is also a complementary way for students to learn how to conduct a research on a specific topic and present their outcome. As a result, students can gain more depth of knowledge in the area of their interest as well as improve in their written and communication skills. Independent learning is also important in developing as well as improving organizational skills. As students are able to self-direct themselves while learning, they should also be able to plot their own path and value their own work in order to compare themselves to their peers that are on the same level as them (Michie, 2013). Independent learning could also be seen as a way of preparing in advance for lectures or seminars. This as a result could benefit students. For example, it will allow them to focus on any extra or new materials that are covered in sessions as well as gives them the opportunity to ask questions on what they may not be clear about. Some students may argue that Independent learning don’t work for them.
However, it is up to their teachers or mentors to set some guidance to help students understand the importance. Teachers must be able to meet their students half way. It is important to look into their students’ needs and expectation. They should also allow students to perhaps have a trial session of independent study before expecting them to make a direct transition (The Higher education academy, 2013). Developing the habit of Independent learning early on is vital and becomes handy post-higher education. Many employers like to be assured that potential candidates are able to take their own initiatives in completing tasks and confident in working individually without much supervision. From personal experience, I found that Independent learning has been a great tool towards self-discovery and furthermore helped me challenge myself and continue to do so in day to day life; it gave me self-confidence because I found independent learning as a way and guide that puts new experience and learning materials into a more transparent setting.
It is fair to say that the obvious life skills such as reading, listening, speaking, viewing and presenting are possible to achieve through Independent learning. However it is also possible to gain other personal skills that we could benefit from on day-to-day basis. For instance our social skills, thinking skills and information presenting skills that are vital in our world today. Most of us are able to use our social skills in order to work with others and contribute to our communities in a positive ways. Valuing the way we think is also very important to help us gain understanding and making good judgment and decisions in life. Finally, as an Independent learner it is easily discovered that information skills gained help us in various ways such as the ability to recognise information when needed, ability to ask relevant questions as well as reflect and evaluate our own learning skills. Independent learning simply deduced is learning that is self-directed.
In most higher education institutions particularly at university, independent learning is presumed to be the driving force behind the teaching-learning process (Moore, 1973, pp. 661–679). Students would be expected to dedicate more time studying on their own to get the most out of their learning experience. Furthermore, exemplifying this belief is the growth and success of institutions solely based on independent learning such as the Open University and other distance learning institutions. Thus it is very important to understand and consider this type of approach towards learning when pursuing higher education.
Independent learning is also a great option for adult students who may find it difficult to go back to higher education. In today’s world where online courses are available to suite their flexibility and level makes it easier for them to achieve their goal in their own pace (Ictnz.com, 2013). Independent learning is not just limited to pre-lecture preparations or simply being ahead of one’s peers. Learning via this method could potentially help achieve greater academic and social as well as personal successes. These achievements could be in the forms of new research findings or just improving our personal skills while pursuing our passions at a greater level.
Ictnz.com. 2013. What are the sklls of an independent learner? [Online] Available at: http://ictnz.com/Inquiry%20Learning/independent%20learning%20skills.htm [Accessed: 25 Sep 2013]. Michie, J. 2013. What is Independent Learning? [Online] Available at: http://jamesmichie.com/blog/2011/10/what-is-independent-learning/ [Accessed: 24 Sep 2013]. Moore, M. 1973. Toward a theory of independent learning and teaching. The Journal of Higher Education, pp. 661–679. The Higher education academy. 2013. Untitled. [Online] Available at: (http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/resources/detail/internationalisation/isl_independent_learning [Accessed: 26 Sep 2013].