What is self-directed learning?

In this post we are going to summarize a speech given by Blake Boles that can be found here: but we are also going to be twisting it a little and adding some of our own ideas.

Self-directed learning is not the same as home schooling where parents often dictate what the students must study. It is not the same as unschooling

Self- directed learning is when students are in charge of their own learning. They don’t vilify structure like unschoolers do but do want to make sure that everyone is here by their own freewill and interested in learning what is taking place. They seek out interesting places and people that they can learn from. They focus on their passion and something that they are interested in. They learn around others; know that they can learn anytime and anywhere.

Like all of us Self-directed learners can struggle to find self-motivation — everyone procrastinates but there are ways that we can set up our environment to prevent or discourage it, such as The Ferret Institute.

Parents of Self-directed learners cannot force their kids to do anything, they can guide, coach, have long conversations, offer advice and incentives but they shouldn’t force their kids to do anything. An unwilling participant is not going to learn anything.

Self-directed learners realize that you can do anything you want to — if you want to take a class at a local college — email the teacher and see if you can sit in on the class.

Self-directed learners understand that today your brand is created by having a portfolio of success in the past — the resume is dead — show them your blog or YouTube videos or referral list instead.

Self-directed learners realize the power of a smart phone, they can look up things very quickly. But they also recognize that computers and tech are not the answer — there are a lot of things that need to be and are best learned offline…MOOCs are never going to be the future — they are a starting point but not the final answer.

Self-directed learners see the difference between practice and deliberate practice. In deliberate practice you will are working towards a small specific measureable goal. You have someone giving you immediate feedback …this person should not talk to much they just tell you where to make a change then sit back and let you try it.

In summary Self-directed learners are students who are in charge of their own learning path, they work with their parents, teachers and coaches to pick the best path for them. Like all of us they can struggle with motivation but that is overcome by embedding themselves in a system such as The Ferret Institute. Self-directed learners know they can learn anytime, anywhere; but see that life happens in the real world not just online. They also know how to practice things deliberately in order to take themselves to the next level.