How to Raise Independent Learners?
May 12, 2021

History remembers independent thinkers very kindly. Independent learners are who they are because they sought knowledge out on their own and cultivated their interests without any external push. Some of the most accomplished inventors, artists, writers and researchers have all formulated their learning objectives on their own.

Earlier, society credited their outlier personalities with their career success. However, it is truly not a deviant skill to possess if you raise your students or children to learn independently. You think this is impossible? Let us change your mind with these tips and tricks!

"I love to learn but I hate to be forced!" written by chalk on a blackboard.
Image byGerd AltmannfromPixabay

1. Create a different learning experience for the student at home:
Children don’t get the freedom to curate their own knowledge journey in classrooms since they have to follow a fairly strict regimen. Teachers and parents can collaborate to curate creative learning methods for children at home.

2. Set learning goals:
Do not tell your student/child what to study. Instead, encourage them to achieve a learning goal. For instance, instead of saying “hey, memorise pages 10-15 from the chapter Planets”, say “Today’s agenda is to learn about Space”. That way, you’re widening the knowledge base for your child and you’re encouraging them to go beyond textbooks and topics to learn more!

3. Set a reward system:
Once you establish learning goals, acknowledge them once accomplished. Encourage younger children with stickers or star charts, while older children can receive privileges such as an additional half-hour of browsing time on a parent-controlled laptop or system. Chances are, they will use this browsing time to seek out information that compounds their existing knowledge base.

Laptop, diary and bag placed on a wooden floor.
Photo byMatt RaglandonUnsplash

4. Allow them freedom to choose their methods:
Do not micromanage their learning at any cost. Children tend to burn out in schools as they have to follow procedure to a T. This makes learning a boring experience and also one that requires no additional effort. Parents can change that attitude at home by allowing their children to create a system that works for them.

For instance, if a child chooses to learn by watching videos, don’t take that away from them. Offer suggestions but avoid enforcing methods. Children tend to respond better when they feel like they have agency over their choices.

Left hand of a small boy wet with blue water colour.
Photo byPhil HearingonUnsplash

5. Take the focus away from results:
Acknowledge effort and encourage your child’s process. Children are very sensitive to validation and one wrong move can derail them. They enjoy learning when they are not under any pressure to perform.

Children are naturally curious beings and the more we reward their process, the more we encourage them to think outside the box. This method fosters creativity, critical thinking and clarity in children and as a byproduct of this process, children also perform better in school.

So, to say, it is not very difficult to execute these methods at home. Parents and teachers should be facilitators in the learning process. They should not be the thought controllers. Encourage children to question everything they learn daily.

It is a fundamental process in thought evolution since you cannot change what you do not question. To develop thought leaders in the next generation, we must help them establish a strong academic foundation early on in their lives.

"Love to learn" written on a board like pencil pointing to a direction.
Photo byTim MossholderonUnsplash

FAQ: Independent Learners

What is an independent learner, and how is it defined?

An independent learner is someone who takes responsibility for their own learning, demonstrating self-motivation, self-direction, and the ability to set and achieve learning goals without constant supervision.
Three important points about independent learners:
1. Self-Motivated: Independent learners are driven by intrinsic motivation and curiosity, seeking out learning opportunities that interest them.
2. Autonomous: They have a high degree of autonomy in planning, managing, and evaluating their learning, often setting their own goals and timelines.
3. Resourceful: Independent learners are resourceful, using various tools, materials, and sources to acquire knowledge, such as books, online courses, and mentorship.

What Are the Benefits of Being an Independent Learner?

Embracing independent learning can yield numerous advantages for personal and professional growth.
Three important points about the benefits of being an independent learner:
1. Flexibility: Independent learners have the flexibility to choose what, when, and how they learn, allowing for a tailored and adaptable learning experience.
2. Self-Efficacy: Self-directed learning enhances self-efficacy and confidence, as learners take ownership of their progress and achievements.
3. Lifelong Learning: Independent learning fosters a lifelong learning mindset, ensuring continuous skill development and adaptation to new challenges.

How Can One Develop Independent Learning Skills?

Becoming an independent learner involves developing specific skills and habits.
Three important points about developing independent learning skills:
1. Goal Setting: Setting clear and achievable learning goals provides a sense of direction and purpose for independent learning.
2. Time Management: Effective time management is crucial for balancing independent learning with other responsibilities and commitments.
3. Information Literacy: Developing strong information literacy skills is essential for evaluating sources, conducting research, and learning independently.

What Challenges Might Independent Learners Face?

While independent learning offers numerous benefits, it also comes with challenges.
Three important points about challenges faced by independent learners:
1. Motivation and Discipline: Staying motivated and disciplined can be a challenge, as there are no external deadlines or accountability structures.
2. Resource Selection: The abundance of learning resources can be overwhelming, making it crucial to choose the most relevant and credible materials.
3. Isolation: Independent learning can be isolating at times, as learners may miss the social interaction and support available in traditional educational settings.

What are the key characteristics of independent learners?

Independent learners exhibit characteristics such as self-discipline, strong problem-solving skills, the ability to manage time effectively, a love for learning, and the capacity to seek out and utilize resources independently.

Why is independence in learning important in education and beyond?

Independence in learning is crucial for lifelong learning and success. It empowers individuals to adapt to new challenges, take ownership of their education, and continue developing their knowledge and skills throughout their lives.

How can educators foster independence in learners in the classroom?

Educators can foster independence by providing opportunities for student choice, encouraging critical thinking, teaching study and time management skills, and offering guidance and support when needed.

What are some strategies independent learners use to maximize their learning experience?

Independent learners use strategies such as setting clear goals, seeking out resources, actively engaging in self-assessment, embracing challenges, and developing a growth mindset.

Can anyone become an independent learner, or is it a skill reserved for certain individuals?

Anyone can develop independence in learning. While some individuals may naturally exhibit these traits, independence is a skill that can be cultivated and improved through practice and guidance.

How does independent learning relate to online and distance education?

Independent learning is closely related to online and distance education, as it requires students to take initiative and responsibility for their learning, making it a valuable skill in these educational settings.

Where can individuals, including educators and students, find resources and support for becoming more independent learners?

Resources for developing independence in learning can be found in educational institutions, online courses, self-help books, and educational platforms that offer guidance on study skills and self-directed learning.

In conclusion, independent learners are individuals who take the initiative to direct their own learning, benefiting from flexibility, self-efficacy, and a commitment to lifelong learning. Developing independent learning skills, accessing appropriate resources, and addressing potential challenges are essential steps in becoming a successful independent learner.

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