Traditional education is not always the route followed by some of the most successful people. Some examples of self-directed learners who don’t have a degree are Bill Gates, Henry Ford, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Nowadays, even people with degrees need to continuously keep pace with the new technologies in their industry and self-directed learning is how they do it. There are several habits that you can acquire to ensure that you never stay behind in your field.
1. Take the initiative
You don’t need others to tell you what learning needs you have; you are solely responsible for identifying which areas you want to enhance. You need to formulate your own goals and choose your learning resources.
2. Make your goals realistic
In order to stay motivated, you need to set yourself some goals. They must be specific, realistic and time-defined. Self-directed learning is usually done after hours and you will need to make sure that you manage that time correctly and realistically. You cannot learn by cramming the brain in a short time with lots of knowledge, the brain needs time to process information effectively.
3. Participation ensures learning
Active learning or participation helps you to better understand what you are learning. If your course requires problem-solving then doing the exercises and getting help if necessary, allows you to apply the skills better. If, however, your course requires a lot of reading, concentration, and note-taking are important.
4. Focus your study time
You need to prioritize your study time on learning the most important aspects of what you are studying. In your spare time, you can brush up on other aspects of the course.
5. Motivate yourself
Unlike college students who are motivated because of their grades, you will have to find other means of motivation. It could be your next successful venture, or how much you want to be ahead with new technologies.