“My son cannot have self-directed learning. He needs structure so that he can follow through.”
Many parents still hold on to this notion of needing “control” when it comes to education. And some even see self-direction as a trait that only a few children have. The truth is, self-direction is a quality that everyone possesses. Whether or not we work to develop that quality is up to us.
So if you are one of those parents who don’t believe that your child can thrive with self-directed learning, you will want to read this until the end.
What is self-directed learning?
Self-directed learning (SDL) is a method of learning where students are given the power to decide how they wish to learn. In simpler words, it’s when an individual chooses to take his or her own initiative to study—with or without the help of others.
How SDL works depends on the students. For instance, if the student requires a teacher’s guidance, then the teacher will only be guiding them and not controlling them. In this method of learning, students have control over how they wish to achieve their goals.
How does self-directed learning benefit students?
1) Build their self-confidence
In a setting where students are taught to follow, it is difficult for each child to showcase their unique traits or creativity. SDL encourages students to figure out their own way of doing things. And this means experimenting with different learning styles and figuring out which style they are most confident with. And once they achieve that, they will have the confidence to accomplish many things in life.
2) Gain better social skills
The traditional way of learning doesn’t leave much room for interactions between students. This is because when the teacher teaches, the students listen. However, in a self-directed class, students are encouraged to discuss with each other and learn from one another.
3) Become better decision-makers
In an SDL, students learn through observation and experimentation instead of following what the teachers or parents tell them to do. And because of this, these students will grow to become better decision-makers as they are used to applying critical thinking when making their own decisions.
4) Learn to truly enjoy learning
The best way to encourage learning is to ensure that the process is enjoyable. In an SDL setting, students can decide which topic to engage in and how long they would want to study a certain subject. This is completely different from the traditional method of forcing students to follow a set timetable. When given more freedom, students will look forward to their next lesson and find joy in learning.
5) Encourage them to take up responsibilities
When forced to complete a certain task, the task will become a chore. But if we, ourselves, decided to complete a certain task, we will see it as a goal for us to achieve. SDL encourages students to take up more responsibility and become more self-sufficient. As students learn to take control of their learning, they will also learn to take control of their life as they grow up.
How can parents help their children adapt to this style of learning?
- Whenever your child is playing with their toys, don’t tell them what to do. See how they react to new situations and allow them to play freely.
- Slowly allow them to make their own choices by making them choose their own clothes or let them decide which book to read first.
- Rather than separating playtime with study time, why not combine both together? For example, when playing with your child, try to include some fun facts to educate them. That way, your child will see learning as fun.
- In self-directed learning, mistakes are not seen as a failure. Instead, it is seen as an acknowledgement that your child has tried something new. Keep in mind to reward effort over success. This way, your child will always come up with ways to become better instead of feeling down whenever they make mistakes.
- Be patient. Waiting for your child to come up with their own solution may take time. This is when patience is highly required. If you see your child struggling to come up with a solution, you can choose to guide them through the process.
Here’s how self-directed learning can be enhanced through online learning
SDL is a learning method that allows students to make their own decisions. And what better way for them to do that than by having a platform where they can choose their own learning materials and study whenever they want? Here’s how online learning can further benefit SDL:
“If students aren’t learning the way we teach, then we need to teach them the way they learn.” – Dunn and Dunn
With our online classes, our students are encouraged to discover and find their own method of learning. We believe that this will further strengthen their auto-discipline and self-directed learning skills.
All in all, SDL is a great method to adopt, especially in this day and age where there are multiple online platforms available. And SDL will be proven beneficial for many years to come as self-directed students will also become better decision-makers in the future.
If you are interested in getting your child started with this self-directed method of learning, you can talk with us at learngerman.com.sg. To find out more about our classes, get in touch with us now!