The Power of Independent Learning

Independent learning is a method of learning where learners have control and take responsibility for their own learning, becoming more self-directed, and making decisions about what they would want to focus on and how much time they are likely to spend on learning it.

Higher levels of student engagement, better teacher-student communication, and more creative teaching techniques are all advantages of an independent learning environment.

While in class, teachers often focus on the lesson at hand. They want their students to be able to solve some problem or make an answer grammatically correct. A focused tutoring experience may help our students pass an exam, but it doesn’t promote the use of critical thinking skills necessary for future success in course-work or life challenges beyond school. In a classroom, students are often expected to do short-term tasks but may not develop the skill set necessary to achieve long-term goals.

Developing independent learning skills helps students cope with changing situations. Students are able to confidently use problem-solving strategies in a variety of situations once these skills are established. Learning how to think critically and solving problems is not only an important skill for getting through school and college, it also plays a major role in success in their careers. Our role as tutors is to help students develop the skills they need to become independent lifelong learners.

It is inevitable that all of us will have difficulty understanding the material taught in the classroom at times. Independent learners are able to recognize that they are not fully understanding concepts and they attempt to apply strategies to gain a better understanding. As students learn to take ownership of their learning and experiences, they develop confidence and become self-motivated. This can increase their joy at school while also preparing them for personal and professional success later in life.

What skills or characteristics does an independent learner typically possess?

  • They are confident in their abilities and do not rely on anybody else to reach their goals.
  • They are curious, always want to find out more and not just through traditional instruction, they learn from various angles and formats.
  • They take the initiative and seek out extra resources on their own.
  • They are self-motivated as they set internal goals and are driven by their own personal achievement.
  • Independent learners know how to evaluate themselves. They can identify their strengths and their weaknesses and they strive for measurable progress.
  • They have well developed critical thinking skills. They examine all possibilities and find multiple solutions for a problem.
  • They are persistent. They do not give up and try to understand a concept as much as possible on their own before they ask for help.

How can we encourage independent learning in children?

  1. Let children define their learning goals: Children will naturally be more motivated to learn when they are given the opportunity to define their own learning goals. This gives children more ownership over their own learning and the direction they want to take.
  2. Allow children to keep track of their own learning goals: Along with defining their learning objectives, teach kids how to keep track of their progress. Set up some self-assessment tests so they can gauge how much of a concept they have mastered. If they perform poorly, they can go back and re-learn it before taking the test again.
  3. Encourage children to collaborate with their friends: Motivate children to share knowledge and work together. Working with like-minded individuals will be essential in the future. Through this, social skills and the willingness to cooperate are developed.
  4. Allow children to participate in group discussions: This will help them learn about and appreciate other people’s viewpoints. Additionally, they focus on the learning outcomes they would have missed.

Children who are independent learners adapt well to new situations and environments. This can be attributed to their flexibility and ability to learn from their mistakes. For the fast paced and uncertain world that we live in, it is important to make children lifelong learners and build them to be independent so that they can adapt to different situations.