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Russian Immigrants in Canada in Russian Language

Russia to Canada BlogHi everyone who is reading my blog about our life in Canada. Today we have a guest post from Oxana Getman. Enjoy.

© Copyright 2012, Oxana Getman. All rights reserved.
This article is the intellectual property of Oxana Getman and may not be copied, reproduced, distributed or displayed without proper APA citation.

Benefits of self-directed learning

Have you chosen ever the subject you are passionate about and the intensity of the learning process you are involved in? You are probably familiar with self-directed learning. According to Alvin Toffler, “the illiterate of the 21st century are not those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”  Now that I moved to Canada and have to start a new career, this quotation has become my official slogan. Also, as an adult student I have to be able to find out my own ways to gather information and knowledge, not only rely on my incredible, lovely teachers. For instance, I have been working on a project during this semester that requires self-directed research work which has to be presented as a serious academic paper and an actual presentation. My classmates feel differently about this project. One feels lost and disorganised; in contrast, others are happy taking responsibilities for their own learning processes. Of course, self-directed learning has its advantages and some disadvantages, though in this essay I would be happy to highlight just three benefits of this process.

To begin with, the main advantage of self-directed learning is autonomy and flexibility during the process. Isn’t that good? Freedom in choosing a topic and recourses is pleasing, of course. As a result, a student is more motivated and excited about working on a project, I think. Interestingly, I can study sitting at home, drinking tea while I am watching movie or documentary related to my topic. Also, I decide what time to start working on the project: in the evening, at midnight or at any time on weekends. Unfortunately, this kind of autonomy does not work well for institutional students. I cannot avoid morning classes’ attendance or ask to decrease intensity of the program, for instance.  In addition, I am not independent in choosing dead lines or due dates. Being a college student, I am restricted with many rules regarding my behavior or ability to follow academic standards of presenting ideas and submitting assignments. You will have full independence and flexible schedule when you decide to study by yourself taking on-line courses or whatever you prefer. However, you have to possess strong organizational skills and self-discipline. Are you sure you are that kind of personality? If so, let me express my respect!

The next benefit is the opportunity to explore more sources in order to get the information that is unique to you. Now you have preferences which direct your learning plan according to your curiosity, not a didactic plan of your instructor. Moreover, you develop your critical thinking while deciding which source is reliable, and which one is untrustworthy. Besides this, you are more likely to create your own opinion on topic or subject when do not see or listen to classmates’ or teacher’s ideas. Furthermore, it provides you with the chance to discover information outside the classroom and course books. You are in a charge of finding periodical, non-periodical, print and electronic, audiovisual media, and Internet resources. Thus, acquiring knowledge can be much more expansive.

The last positive point of self-directed learning I would like to mention is the sense of achievement and fulfilment when you finish working on your project. In this case, you greatly contribute to your self-esteem or confidence if you are able to cope with time-management and organizational skills finishing your assignments on time, of course. It is so important not to postpone, and keep pushing yourself to work constantly, step by step, according to your learning plan in order to achieve the final result you are looking for. Being able to accomplish your own project successfully by using this style of learning shows your development and productivity. It is the satisfaction of considering yourself as a creative and smart person. Some people might feel satisfied successfully practicing self-directed learning at home because they save money that is supposed to be paid for institutional education. If I could do that I would be proud of myself!

Indeed, self-directed learning is becoming popular nowadays; for example, some universities and colleges try to incorporate in their teaching program more elements of this learning activity. Faculties’ staff work on improving programs they offer to their students realizing that people are different learners, and it is vital to give them several possibilities to acquire knowledge. Making academic study interesting is an important, positive part of this learning strategy. The main point is that “self-directed learners think for themselves. They choose the subject matter and the intensity of the learning experience” (Confidence to learn, 2010, para. 4). They do not wait for teacher’s instructions; instead, they are actively engaged in their own studying process. Being able to involve yourself in this learning style means you are more open for success and productivity in your career. Moreover, it makes you self-confident and assertive. It might benefit your potential growth within a company, consequently raising your salary. Clearly, self-directed learning works very well if you are motivated enough. This learning strategy is definitely worth our consideration.

Reference:

Confidence to learn. The benefits of self-directed learning. (2010). Retrieved from http://confidencetolearn.com/sdl/65-benefitsofsdl

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