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The Advantages of Independent Learning

Education is an integral part of human development. The learning process starts since the very moment of birth and continues throughout the lifespan. As a person grows, he/she becomes more conscious about own intellectual development and capable of influencing its outcomes. Nowadays, researchers and practitioners in the field of education continue to discuss a great variety of methods, standards, and regulations which, in their opinion, can make learning more efficient and beneficial for students and the society. A lot of studies are devoted to the evaluation of theories and distinct ways to impact schools in a positive way. However, in my opinion, no external influence and enforcement can be as effective as the internal individual motivation to study. Self-motivated learning allows students to gain many benefits not merely in their academic performance but in the sphere of personal development as well. Therefore, in this paper, I would like to discuss the advantages of independent learning.

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Over time, my attitude towards education has significantly changed. Although I never had a negative perception of education, I regarded it as something obligatory and most of the time did not enjoy attending classes in the middle school. But later, I started to develop an interest in studying mathematics. I noticed that I usually remained more focused in the math class than in other classes, whereas the perspective to find out something new in this field kept me motivated. It was the time when I have begun to make study math independently of the curriculum. I did not conduct any serious investigation as professional scientists do but explored the world of mathematics by reading articles and watching documentaries about recent discoveries, theories, contributions, practitioners, and technologies. My independent studies helped me to deepen the understanding of mathematics in general and acquire the knowledge which I probably would not have if I had just followed the curriculum. I also tend to believe that these additional explorations substantially supported my passion to studying math in the class and, in this way, helped to improve my academic performance.

Along with educational benefits, self-motivated learning largely supports self-realization. According to the self-determination theory, there are three basic psychological needs every individual has. They are “the needs for competence, relatedness, and autonomy” (Deci et al. 327). Independent learning fulfills these innate needs because it implies a self-regulated process of education which meets personal interests (i.e., it is meaningful) and allows students to achieve the desired developmental outcomes. Some researchers regard self-regulated processes as volitions aimed to protect individual values and goals and bring them to realization through actions (Roeser and Peck 4). Since any self-motivated activity is stimulated by personal values and beliefs, independent learning may help individuals to deepen their understanding of self and favorably impact the course of personal and social identity formation.

Since the time I have started to explore things on my own, my interests have evolved. At first, I commenced researching some other scientific fields that are thematically proximate to mathematics but then I began to explore more and more diverse subjects including medicine. At this point in life, I am passionate about pediatrics as well, and I would like to study it at a more advanced level in the future. Although it is possible to say that my interests have not been solely formed by self-motivated education and were largely influenced by the overall social environment, I believe that the independent studies helped me to become more self-determined and confident about what I want to do in life and how I can attain it.

Along with the benefits I mentioned above, educators and researchers distinguish many other advantages of independent learning including increased creativity and intellectual curiosity (Steed par. 2); higher self-esteem, a better understanding of individual limitations, as well as the development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills (Meyer et al. 2). Self-motivated education is always active. It implies the process of seeking for own answers rather than receiving the ready-made ones. Although this form of inquiry is challenging, it is also very meaningful. Moreover, when a student studies not just because he/she wants to pass exams but because desires to know and understand, he/she becomes able to enjoy the process and gets greater satisfaction after achieving more valuable outcomes.

While the traditional forms of education do not consistently meet our interests and personal objectives, independent value-based learning always reflects them. First of all, self-regulated education allows students to deepen the understanding of things they find most interesting. But its favorable impact on personality is even more significant. As the literature review revealed, self-motivated learning has both cognitive and emotional implications as it is triggered by psychological mechanisms rooted in individual belief-goal systems. When people do the things they want or learn something they are passionate about, in this way, they express their personalities and realize their personal values. Therefore, self-motivated learning leads to a greater contentedness and positively affects all spheres of human life increasing the chance for success.

Works Cited

Deci, Edward et al. “Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective.” Educational Psychologist, vol. 26, no. 3, 1991, pp. 325–346. Web.

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Meyer, Bill et al. “What is independent learning and what are the benefits for students? ” CUREE. 2016. Web.

Roeser, Robert W., and Stephen C. Peck. “An Education in Awareness: Self, Motivation, and Self-Regulated Learning in Contemplative Perspective.” Educational Psychologist, vol. 44, no. 2, 2009, pp. 119–136. Web.

Steed, Mark S. “The Importance of Independent Learning.” An Independent Head. 2013. Web.

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