Learning definitely doesn’t end when you finish school or your college education, because you need to keep learning throughout your life in order to have a successful career. However, in order to learn effectively and ensure your efforts pay off, you need to be able to do it without someone monitoring and assessing you constantly. You need to know how to learn autonomously, as opposed to learning in school, when teachers are there to support you and help you every step of the way.
This is what independent learning is all about. More and more companies are realizing the huge importance of having a workforce of independent learners and the benefits that such employees can bring to the company. Employees who are independent learners can help a company stay ahead of the competition, as they keep on learning and improving their skills.
This is why businesses are increasingly utilizing various types of online learning software since it helps employees learn on their own.
Therefore, if you want to grow and succeed in life, you should definitely try and become an independent learner.
Why is independent learning important?
Independent learning is not just important when you are a student. When you start learning independently, without the support of your teachers, you acquire certain skills that can be of incredible help when you start working.
First of all, you become a self-motivated learner. You set your own goals and know exactly how to achieve them because you are motivated by your passion and your own personal achievement. Curiosity drives you, as you want to learn more and explore things from a different perspective.
You develop a great sense of accountability, and you know exactly what you need to do without someone telling you to do it or how to do it. That level of responsibility can take you progress in your career.
Learning independently also helps you develop critical thinking skills. You learn how to come up with different solutions and evaluate the best ways to handle a particular problem because, by learning this way, you don’t memorize and learn everything by heart. You observe the world around you and use deduction to solve an issue in any given situation.
You learn how to self-examine. You don’t need someone evaluating you and telling you where you have made a mistake. You are fully aware of your strengths and weaknesses and, since you want to progress and grow, you pay close attention to both your failures and achievements, as that helps you improve your skills.
You also learn how to take initiative and manage your time effectively, which is something that employers value greatly in an employee. Since you generally don’t need any kind of instruction, but can rather instruct yourself, you can save them quite a lot of time that they can focus on their core competencies.
You learn through application and, when you make an error, you know how to find the best solution, because you are able to easily comprehend any kind of material that you work with, regardless of the topic in question.
Perhaps the most crucial reason why independent learning is important has to do with persistence. Independent learners don’t really have it in them to give up easily. They work hard on understanding a particular topic or task, as well as they can so that they can find the right solution on their own. They are highly persistent, but they also know when is the right time to ask someone for help and specific guidance.
How can you become an independent learner?
In order to become an independent learner, you need to know how to motivate yourself. It is certainly not something that is achieved overnight, but a great way to improve your self-motivation is to think about what you want to achieve – your goals and the purpose of your work.
Effective time management is essential for becoming an independent learner. Whether you are studying or juggling multiple tasks, you have multiple projects at the same time, so you need to learn how to manage your time in order to complete all of your projects on time without fail.
The best way to learn how to allocate your time is to break down your every project into smaller tasks that are easily digestible, figure out how much time each of them will take, and then work on those tasks according to their priority.
You also need to be persistent and resilient, able to overcome every challenge that you encounter, without someone guiding you all the way and giving you instructions and all the material that you may need in order to complete certain tasks. If you give up easily and expect someone to give you a helping hand every time you encounter a roadblock, you cannot effectively improve your skills and grow.
However, independent learning doesn’t mean one shouldn’t ask for help at all. A vital part of independent learning is seeking help when you really need it, as well as engaging in discussions with your peers, because someone may provide you with creative ideas that will help you think outside the box and find the best solution to a particular problem.
Therefore, never shy away from asking for help. In the business world, it is actually valued very much, because it shows that you are engaged and interested in solving problems.
Independent learning is a very effective way to improve your skills and acquire knowledge that is necessary for completing various tasks efficiently, both during your formal education and career advancement.
This is one of the reasons independent learners are choosing online courses to acquire knowledge and improve skills. Many educational setups and employers are utilizing eLearning software as it comes with the proven ability to support independent learning.
Kamy Anderson is an ed-tech enthusiast with a passion for writing on emerging technologies in the areas of corporate training and education. He is an expert in learning management system and e-learning authoring tools – currently associated with ProProfs.