Independent and Self-Directed Learning

What is self-directed learning? How can technilogy influence our new learning habits? 

Learning in an independent way may be challenging for all of us since we are used to having the support of a teacher or coach who guides us. Fortunately, technology has given us different tools to learn on our own.

This is what we call self-directed learning. It is a strategy, by which the learner acquires the responsibility of the teacher and he/she drives his/her own process of learning, identifying the learning goals, strategies and evaluation.

There are several steps which must be taken into account:

  1. Readiness to learn

Students need different attitudes to be successful in independent learning. This step especially involves a self-analysis of the self, that is analyzing habits, family situation and support network at school. Also, we must bear in mind the experiences in independent learning.

Some signs that will help you to decide if you are ready for independent learning are:

  • Being autonomous
  • Being organized
  • Accept feedback from others
  • Being able to do a self-evaluation and self-reflection
  • Being disciplined and practice everyday.
  1. Prepare the learning goals and contract

As you are both, the learner and the teacher, it’s also your responsibility to set your learning goals. Normally, that task belongs to the teacher, but that doesn’t mean that you are not able to do it, you just need to know some tips to accomplish it by yourself.

Normally, learning contracts involve the following points:

  • Goals for the unit of study
  • Structure and sequence of tasks
  • Timeline to complete the activities
  • Details about resource materials for each goal
  • Details about grading procedures
  • Feedback and evaluation as each goal is completed
  • Meeting plan with the advising instructor
  • Agreement of unit policies, such as a policy on late assignments
  1. Engage in the learning process

There are several ways of approaching the learning process:

  • deep approach involves transformation and is ideal for self-directed learning. This approach is about understanding ideas for yourself, applying knowledge to new situations and learning more than is required for unit completion.
  • surface approachinvolves reproduction: coping with unit requirements, learning only what is required to complete a unit in good standing, and tending to regurgitate examples and explanations used in readings. This approach includes reproduction, that is, learning only the necessary to pass the course.
  • strategic approach involves organization: achieving the highest possible grades, learning what is required to pass exams, memorizing facts, and spending time practicing from past exams.

Choose which one you want to be when approaching the training in company. The best option is to get the maximum from your company’s training courses.

  1. Evaluate learning

Again, the learner and the teacher are the same person.

To be successful in this kind of learning, as learners we should be able to engage in self-reflection

  • Have regular meetings with the instructor
  • Engage with feedback
  • Reflect on yourself by asking some questions like: What did I learn? Was I able to complete the tasks?


How can Digital Latam help in self-directed learning?

Digital Latam is an online training company for organizations. We specialize in independent training for companies using different methodologies (gamification, serious games, courses, role-playing games, videos).

We encourage self-directed learning in such a way that all employees who wish to take our courses will work independently with the help of an instructor who, in addition, will have access to the progress of users in order to monitor and help them improve.

We know that the greatest progress can only be made if the learner is motivated and willing to absorb new information. People are more likely to be motivated when they feel appreciated and respected. That is why we choose to customize courses for our clients in every aspect.