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Self Learning - The Complete Guide

Updated on Jan 07, 2020 6129 views
Self Learning - The Complete Guide

Self-learning or Institutionalized learning?

If you want career growth or development, you need to not only depend on institutionalized learning which is often becoming archaic but also on self improvement or what is now popularly termed self learning

Institutionalized or instructional learning has been in vogue since time memorial. It is commonly believed that for you to know something you must come under a tutor or a master and they start by giving you duration of time.

They do not rush you, instead, most times, they go way slower and extend it to years and so, you find that it takes so long to become a professional at something.

The school system has made it more tedious but gone are those days when learning something is at the mercy of another person or an institution.

In this time and age, with the invention of the computer, smartphones, Google, and the internet, nobody can limit your scope of learning.

There is nothing you are looking for that has not been documented in one way or the other and it just takes your time, devotion, good internet condition to get you the knowledge you desire.

In this article, we will be considering what self-learning is and all the good things about it.

Nobody can go far in this century who does not take their learning beyond what they have been fed in school.

The school system has its advantages but then most of the materials used may not be relevant at this time; that is what makes self-learning important.

In the underdeveloped countries, you find them using archaic curricula, teaching the children what has been in vogue since the ninety eighties and the students can not relate because it is a whole new world like a singer would say, times have changed, people have evolved, the skills that were relevant before, are no more needed now as machines are taking over.

So you need to ask yourself a good question. “What skills do I need to remain relevant in the 21st century?”


What is self-learning?

Self-learning is an education received outside the classroom. It is the modern form of learning where the learner and the teacher are the same. It is not restricted like the instructional learning, neither is it a replacement for institutionalized learning.

It is safe to say it is a supplementary kind of learning; it is what you do to take what school has taught you to another level. It is how you choose to be more relevant in a complex and technologically driven world.

Self-learning is made possible through the instrumentality of the internet, what is it you want to know? You can simply use Google search, check out some YouTube videos too.

Following a simple instruction manual can go a long way in helping you learn how to do something.

This kind of learning is something you can do at your own pace, choosing the when, where and how.

It makes learning fast though it also takes discipline to scheme through the internet to get the right knowledge you need for the purpose you need it. It can equip you with the relevant skills you need to run your daily activities.

On a more serious note, for those who cannot afford the fees for formal institutionalized learning, they can actually get the curriculum for the course of study and get materials online. They tend to get more recent information about the field of study than those who stopped at the classroom level. There are several benefits and advantages of self-learning, all it takes is to have the right knowledge.


Importance of self-learning in a new age

Sometimes, in instructional learning, the students may not be enthusiastic about a particular course of study but are forced to learn it anyway. This doesn’t encourage them to put in their best.

That is not the case in self-learning; here, there is usually a great thirst for knowledge. The individual realizes the need to learn and goes all the way and one’s goal is achieved faster this way.

So, what are the importance of self-learning?

Importance of Self Learning:

  1. It is stress-free:

This stress-free factor of it alone makes self-learning a very effective way to internalize information and make use of it consequently. The learner is not under pressure to finish the syllabus in a short time frame except he decides to set that target for himself to encourage his seriousness. Learning with no much stress involved allows the information to be retained much more than those that were directly taught in class.

  1. It helps develop problem-solving skills:

With self-learning, you do not wait on a tutor or a master before you can achieve something. When there is a problem, your mind begins to think about a solution and this pushes you to seek solutions online; from colleagues, instruction manuals and what have you. You get proactive and get things done way faster than someone who is always waiting for instruction.

  1. You have a meaningful learning experience:

Most undergraduates tend to forget the bulk of what they have learnt after they sit for the examination. Many read just to pass and when that is achieved, they see no need for retaining the information. But it is not so in self-learning. Self-learning is done out of the self-will to develop and achieve something, there is no formal assessment to put one under duress so the learning process is more meaningful to the learner as what they have learnt can become handy later on.

  1. You acquire useful skills in the process:

Meaningful skills that will come in handy in other spheres of life are acquired during the self-learning process, you learn skills like time management when you set a target for yourself and decide to beat the record. This skill is particularly important in this new age because tides are constantly changing and the tendency to get distracted is very high. Self-learning, however, makes you a goal-getter as you have a higher chance to become consistent and focused because you don’t just jump from information to information. You stick to learning something and until you are done with it, you most likely will not get distracted. These soft skills are needed in most and if not all industries you may want to work or are currently working.


How to effectively learn by yourself

A lot of self-discipline is required in the process of self-learning but at the end of the day, if you still to it, it develops you in ways beyond your expectations but there are some who do not know how to go about it constructively. This is for you.

  1. Be ever ready to learn

The reason some people are stuck in life is their bad attitude towards learning, you need to change the mindset of “I know all there is to know” to “Though I know some things, there is more to still learn.” This is the attitude of achievers in this world because knowledge is progressing. The moment you stop learning, you start dying. The first thing is to change your mindset and other things will fall in place.

  1. Set clear learning goals

Think and put down the learning objectives before you start. What do you intend to achieve at the end of the learning? Teachers in class also have learning schemes they follow to cover all bases for their student to learn wholesomely. Follow the reading scheme in such a way that your learning can be progressive based on the topic or subject at hand

  1. Choose your learning tools.

In this world where we have too much buzz of information, as a self- learner, you get to decide on what learning tools you need per time. Some might prefer to use Google search and read up, others might want to use YouTube videos because they still prefer watching some videos that give pictorial illustrations. Just know your learning style and choose what suits you best.

  1. Create an assessment plan

Formal learning has tests and examination as a way to assess students and this is the motivation for learning to pass and get certified. As a self-learner, you should ask why you are learning that piece at that time, at what time do you want to be done. Then you can check out some online personal assessment questions on the topic you have read. You answer the questions and ascertain if you have absorbed the information for real. Your performance will let you know if you can proceed or pay more attention to details.


Skills to Self Learn That Will Build Your Career

  • Communication Skills
  • Interpersonal Skills
  • Relationship Skills
  • Planning Skills
  • IT Skills
  • Analytical Skills
  • Sales and Marketing Skills

There are some important skills that cut across different career path, it does not matter what kind of work it is, you may need it at one point in time and it is important for you as an individual to be equipped with them. This may be soft skills or hard skills in relation to your career path but in this new age, you need these skills.

  1. Communication skills (Listening, speaking and writing)

Developing your communication skill is like opening the door to every other form of advancement you want to make in your career. You must learn how to listen to people, listening will help you ascertain the most suitable way to present yourself and your product. You listen to pick out the relevant point that you can use to promote yourself and solve the needs of others. The speaking skills are needed even in the way you answer the phone, your tone and attitude are important. You will need to know how to speak constructively in such a way that it is not just about yourself but how you can present what you do to gain patronage. This can be done in both spoken and written form. Learn constructive writing that you can use in responding to emails, writing resumes.

  1. Interpersonal and relational skills

There is no “Know it all” or “Do it all” person anywhere, everybody needs somebody. As the saying goes “No man is an island” you will need these relational skills as you work with teammates and colleagues. You need it also in dealing with your customers, how to be courteous and let them know you are ready to render the service you are rendering in such a way that they will refer others to you as they believe no one would treat them any nicer than you would.

  1. The ability to plan well, organize and prioritize work

This ability sound simple but when working in any organization, you need to be able to work with targets and deadlines. Your credibility in the workplace is secured when you finish your work in time and set the right priorities, knowing what to say and do at every given time

  1. IT and programming skills

It is a digital world and there is hardly any work line that doesn’t require a little bit of computer knowledge. You may think it is for the tech guys only until you need to use it for something so little but serious and you have no one to help you with it when you need it urgently.

  1. Analytical and research skills

This helps you cover much ground on any given task, don’t just assume you know, read more on it, get all the information you can. Ask possible questions and seek to answer them. This shows your commitment and makes you exceptional such that you have possible solutions to every scenario that might come up based on that task or topic. Now this gives you an edge in your career.

  1. The ability to learn from constructive criticism

In your line of work or career, when you receive a criticism, do not be critical, accept it as feedback and work on it to help you be better. This will be reflective on you as it will encourage others to want to point you in the right direction and help you build your career till you get to the desired height.

  1. Sales and marketing

You should be your first fan; no one can sell you like you. It is important to learn how to represent your product and services in such a way that others will be willing to patronize you. You may have a good product but if the marketing skills are poor, it will affect sales.


Clearly, learning is beyond the traditional four walls of a classroom. Many people are constantly improving themselves through self-learning and you can do the same.


Staff Writer

This article was written and edited by a staff writer.

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