Many students struggle to score well at school, despite working hard and having supportive parents. One reason could be that they are not absorbing what is taught efficiently. Research has shown that textbook-based delivery methods are not fully effective in improving learning outcomes. This is because students are not active participants in the learning process. This is where self-learning comes into play and helps improve not just academic performance but also boosts confidence and motivation.
As the name suggests, self-learning is when students manage their own learning outside the school, without being supervised by a teacher. They have total control over what, when and how they want to learn. Clubbed with traditional classroom teaching, it helps students retain information efficiently, and apply their knowledge to diverse spheres.
Learn at own pace: Every student has a different learning speed. In a traditional classroom, individual needs are not met and students struggle to keep up with the teacher. But, through self-learning, students can explore concepts and topics based on their individual learning speeds.
Motivated and empowered: Research has shown that self-learning students are more motivated and active participants and seem to enjoy the learning process. They feel empowered as they are in control.
Foundation for lifelong learning: Since students engage actively with the content, they can critically analyse the topic and draw connections between different concepts and their applications. Over time, they become constant learners.
Strengthen problem-solving skills: As independent learners and thinkers, students rely on their own research and problem-solving skills to find solutions to questions, solve doubts, and understand concepts.
Time-management skills: When studying on their own, students learn to plan ahead and prioritise tasks to achieve best possible outcomes.
How to encourage
Create the right environment: Allocate a private study area free from noise and distraction that has a comfortable desk, chair, PC and stationary.
Access to resources: Make sure the student has a list of resources (books, websites, apps, videos) that he/she may find helpful. during self-study sessions. Subscribe to apps and websites that offer doubt-solving services so that clarifications are available when required.
Regular talks: Discuss preparation, challenges, ambitions and plans. Encourage him/her to try different activities and techniques to enrich the learning experience.
Supportive structure: One way is to assign reading material and questions to students to learn on their own outside school, and use the class time to discuss the findings.
Memorisation techniques/tips: Explain concepts like mind maps, flow charts, mnemonics and so on for students to learn difficult concepts and tailor their learning.
Self-monitoring: Help students keep track of their progress and take feedback from peers. This will help them know what is working and how much they are achieving.
Digital infrastructure: Offer online platforms where students can practice tests, generate their own progress reports, create customised timetables to plan their study schedules, and so on.
Teacher training: Innovative methods like blended learning and flipped classrooms can be highlighted to encourage students to learn independently. Classroom time can be dedicated to productive discussions, doubt solving and individual attention.
Structure curriculum: Divide lesson plans into parts that can be self-learnt and those that need guided learning. This will integrate self-learning into the school curriculum.
The writer is Founder and CEO of Toppr