Strategies to Encourage Self-Directed Learning
2020 has shown how essential it is for students to be self-directed learners. Online platforms and teaching methods have evolved quickly this year. As a result, more learning will be done through self-paced activities and personal interest projects.
The trend of people working from home has also accelerated, meaning that more jobs are likely to be home-based. Self-directed learners will be highly valued in the future job market.
To manage their learning more independently in this changing environment, students need to develop executive functioning and self-regulation. They require self-discipline to work on their own and stick with tasks, and the skills to monitor their own progress.
These strategies will help your student become a confident, self-directed learner.
Set Learning Goals
Kids who can set their own goals are well on the way to developing the skills for self-directed learning. It’s best to start small by encouraging students to choose easily achievable goals which they can build on.
Some examples for younger students include committing to reading a certain number of books a week, learning how to bake a cake or make a simple toy from scratch. Allowing kids to choose their own learning goals will help them feel enthusiastic about discovering new things. This also helps them recognise that the classroom is not the only place where learning happens.
Break Down Tasks
Whether they are working on school assignments or pursuing their own learning projects, children need to know how to break tasks down into manageable chunks. Parents can help with this by discussing all the steps needed to complete a task.
Encourage kids to write plans, draw blueprints or create lists. When they know exactly what they want to achieve and the steps they need to take to get there, students are much more likely to complete a project. This helps with perseverance and confidence.
Find Learning Resources
One of the most essential skills for self-directed learners is the ability to find the best resources to reach their goals. You can assist your child to develop these skills by helping them search for information online. Talk about how to identify quality sources from educational websites and other reputable sites.
The library is another important source of information. Kids should know how to search for what they need in the library catalogue and locate it on the shelves or request items through the library portal.
Ask for Help
Self-directed learners recognise they need support from others to achieve their best. Knowing when to reach out to those who can help is an important attribute for students to develop.
Encourage your child to connect with teachers, classmates and experts when they need help. They can do this in person or through online forums and discussions. Learning to ask clearly and succinctly for what they need also allows kids to develop excellent communication skills.
Students should be able to recognise when they’ve made progress and gained new skills, which is why setting goals is so important. Encourage kids to celebrate their achievements and also identify areas where they are not feeling very confident.
When children can pinpoint areas for improvement and take steps to remedy this, it gives them a sense of empowerment and ownership of their learning. Journaling is an ideal way for students to reflect on what has worked for them and areas that need more work.
These tips will help your student take charge of their education.