Success with Self-Directed Learning

Success With Self-Directed Learning

The world has changed so much that the importance of learning effectively and quickly cannot be overemphasized. Gone are the days when life followed a straightforward pattern – you graduated from college, got a good job, got married and then built a blissful career with the same skills you learned in college. To succeed in today’s world, you must learn constantly and adapt quickly to an ever-changing world. 

And don’t think that professional degrees like law and engineering are left out! Even in these fields, there’s a constant need for evolution. Entry-level jobs now require you to have other skills not directly related to your field.

This means that people must continually learn and adapt as there’s a high demand for skills people acquire outside their field of study. Technological advancements are being made in the blink of an eye and companies require their employees to keep up with these technological changes. This brings us to self-directed learning.

It’s a tragic fact that most of us know only how to be taught; we haven’t learned how to learn. –  Malcolm Knowles


Self-Directed Learning is Life Long Learning Self-directed learning is a form of lifelong learning where you teach yourself how to learn effectively. But to achieve success as a self-directed learner, you must acquire the following characteristics:

  1. Enjoy learning: You must learn to love learning. If you don’t like learning, you can’t have all the other attributes that will make you a self-directed learner.
  2. Be curious: You must learn to be curious and to continually ask why. Asking questions and seeking answers is the cornerstone of a successful self-directed learner.
  3. Self-discipline is a must: Learning often involves discipline – no matter how enjoyable it is. As a self-directed learner, you know how to inculcate discipline in your daily life.
  4. Collaborate! Collaborate! Collaborate: to learn successfully, you have to collaborate with the right people and reach out for support when you need it. No one can achieve really great success on their own. We need to work together to achieve our goals!
  5. Be persistent: Learning takes a lot of time, practice and repetition. Skilled people do not become skilled overnight. They spent a lot of time learning over and over again. You must be ready to spend a lot of time at the place of learning.
  6. Know how to use basic skills: You must be able to use basic study skills like taking notes, repetition, etc.
  7. Be goal-oriented: You must be able to set goals and stick to these goals. You must have an endpoint in mind before doing anything.
  8. Learn to see problems as challenges and not obstacles: A self-directed learner does not quit at the face of every problem. They see problems as a chance to overcome and attain greater heights.
  9. Set a pace for learning: You must understand that learning is a process and there are steps that must be taken. You do not arrive at your destination suddenly. Take your time and don’t try to be faster than you should be.
  10. Be comfortable with independence: As a self-directed learner, you must be comfortable with being independent. You must learn to not depend on others to learn or make important decisions. With self-directed learning, you must be self-reliant when it comes to acquiring knowledge.

Blog Post by Adam Brock
Youth Coach, Teacher, Digital Media Specialist


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9 Replies to “Success with Self-Directed Learning”

  1. Nice read! Back in the early 90’s when I had embarked on a self-directed learning endeavor after leaving the corporate world, where I had spent almost a quarter-of-a-century, three classic works served as my initial navigational guides, namely, Charles Hayes’ ‘Self-University’; Ron Gross’ ‘Peak Learning’; and Peter Kline’s ‘The Everyday Genius’. I even set up a small but unique retail store, aptly called ‘The Brain Resource’ in the Central Business District f Singapore, with learning and creativity resources to bankroll and fuel my journey then.

  2. This is a great post! We should never be done learning! I encourage my children even to find something they love and be determined to learn more about it!

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