Benefits of Independent Learning in the Classroom

The benefits of independent learning in the classroom are copious and so this content shall be focusing on some of the many advantages which the concept of independent study or learning is capable bringing to the table.

An independent learner has all the tools needed to take their learning into their own hands, by investigating and exploring new knowledge with lower involvement from an instructor or institution.

With independent learning, students do their own research and ask questions, rather than relying solely on the materials that their teacher or instructor hands them. They also take ownership of their educational path by setting their own goals and monitoring their progress.

It’s important to encourage your students to become independent learners because it will have direct repercussions on their academic performance, as discussed in the previous section.

Some of the ways to make students appreciate independent learning are:

  • Inspire them
  • Evaluate where they currently stand and where they aspire to be
  • Help them improve their questioning skills
  • Enable online discussions and collaboration
  • Give them tools to track their progress
  • Help them become the (wo)man with the plan
  • Give a crash course on time management
  • Create structure and routine

Benefits of Independent Learning in the Classroom

It is pure truth that independent learning can no longer work in a teacher-centric environment. That is why it is obviously important to realize that the first key element in enabling independent learning is the shift to a student-centric environment where the students get a higher-level understanding of their learning. Hence, the benefits of independent learning in the classroom:

  • Enhanced Learning

There is a difference between regurgitating materials on an exam vs. understanding the process of learning. Students who aren’t given the opportunity for independent learning don’t acquire the skill of HOW to learn and how to examine a principle from multiple angles. The teacher stands in the way of the student’s natural curiosity.

  • Goal-orientedness

The process of learning is an exciting adventure that can be interrupted when the primary focus of the classroom is on the goal. We can learn from famous inventors whose failure in the process became the seed for amazing success down the road.

  • Flexibility

Not every student is going to work at the same pace. A facilitator in the classroom can oversee the environment so that each student can work at their own pace and timing.

  • Time Management

Traditional classroom environments can hamper a child’s ability to function in the real world where deadlines, distractions, and other obstacles are in the way. Bosses on the job don’t act like teachers.

Office areas are not like pristine classrooms where everything is methodical and routine. Independent learning requires the student to develop other secondary skills like planning and making priority lists and deadlines to achieve their goals. They must also learn how to deal with distraction effectively.

  • Passion

Can you imagine the difference in motivation if you allowed a student to research a topic that truly piqued his or her interest? Motivation to climb over obstacles is far easier to muster when the student is allowed to choose what educational mountain to tackle first.

Read Also: The Key Characteristics of Informal Learning 

  • Internal Satisfaction

The world isn’t going to cheer us all on always. When things get tough, those who don’t quit are the ones who are determined to rely on their own sense of satisfaction and not someone patting them on the back. Students who have a facilitator rather than a teacher will come to depend on themselves for a job well done.

  • Self-Awareness

A weakness is only as dangerous as the level of ignorance the person has about it. Independent learning forces students to grapple with both their strengths and weaknesses through the educational process.

  • Ability to Teach

If a facilitator invites the student to plan the lesson, then he or she is also learning about how to teach someone else. What good is genius locked up inside of someone who has no idea how to communicate to others?

  • Effectiveness

When the process is part of the goal, failure isn’t quite so scary. When the fear of failure disappears, it is much easier to learn the art of self-critique. Traditional teachers and classrooms make little room for failure as everything is based on grades and exams.

  • Resourcefulness

Learning is not always a straight path. Oftentimes it is a messy walk in the woods with a lot of detours. Independent learners are ready and capable of navigating the process whereas pupils that are fed information from the teacher will get discouraged when they venture out on their own.

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