The Internet and multimedia have caused a comprehensive information revolution in recent years, changing the way we deal with knowledge and making information more available than ever before, which made self-learning a safe haven for those who were able to take advantage of the opportunity to raise their life and practical skills.

If we look closely, many of the skills and abilities that people possess are the result of an unconscious and unintended self-learning process, where one of us acquires special abilities based on the environment in which he lives and the experiences he goes through. Self-learning refers to a method of acquiring knowledge that takes place outside the closed walls of the classroom, without the permanent intervention of a teacher or professor who controls the direction of the flow of information. The student is the one who takes the initiative by searching for information, arranging it, and linking relationships between it.

In this article, we will present five tips that help you in effective self-learning, and help you get the most benefit during your renewed educational journey, and let us start by mentioning the most important positives that a self-learning person obtains.

Advantages of self-learning

Advantages of self-learning

1. Developing problem-solving skills

While following the educational or training program that you have drawn for yourself, you will encounter many unexpected obstacles and problems that you have to face. Let's say you put together a plan to learn programming and web design and start implementing it. During your course of study, you will find that you need to organize your time so that you can continue learning without affecting your regular work or study time. Organizing time, facing emergency matters, and making plans for them may not be an integral part of your programming learning plan, but it is a benign side effect that a person benefits from his self-learning journey.

 2. Learning with limited pressure

There are a lot of pressure factors in formal learning paths that can be eliminated when you learn independently, as self-learning focuses on acquiring knowledge more than its focus on its outputs, which is usually passing or obtaining a certificate. When you learn by yourself, the greatest achievement is not getting the highest score on the exam, but rather obtaining the information that satisfies your passion, and using it in what you searched for. Moreover, you decide what you want to learn, when, and how. The learner's self-set pre-goals send signals to the brain, helping it to discover and assimilate the appropriate information faster. 1

3. Obtaining personal skills during the learning process

There are two main reasons people pursue lifelong learning: personal development and professional development. The two reasons do not have to be separate, because the effect is mutual between the two. Personal development opens the door wide for opportunities for professional advancement, and professional development stimulates personal development.

Self-learning is based on the principle that the learner is the one who sets his own goals, and then seeks to reach them in the manner and manner that he deems appropriate. With time and continued learning, you will realize that you know what you want on a more granular level and that your experience with setting goals increases. Self-learning also reflects positively on a person's self-esteem. Setting goals and reaching them raises a person's self-confidence. The success of independent personal learning is closely linked to commitment. With time and repetition of the process, the learner acquires this important life skill, and his knowledge of himself and what he does becomes deeper. 2

4. The ability to learn throughout life

Many people think that learning stops with graduation or entering an active life, and even if this is not their belief, in practice they stop acquiring new skills as soon as they finish schooling, so their ability to learn gradually decreases with time and they find themselves locked up in the first knowledge that may not be suitable for the development taking place in life around them. Scientific studies 3 show that continuous mental training helps maintain people's analytical and thinking skills as they age. This means that self-learning is a viable way to maintain mental fitness and the ability to learn for life.

Tips for effective self-learning

Tips for effective self-learning

Self-learning requires a lot of discipline and can be a real test of one's ability to commit. However, it is one of the most exciting experiences in human life. Here are five tips to help you get the most out of your educational path.

1. Get ready and let curiosity drive you

You will not be able to learn what you do not want to learn, this is a given, so make your interests the guide that you follow to succeed in self-learning. In this context, you should know what you want to learn, and why this or that subject is important to you. Self-learning requires a lot of internal motivation to maintain readiness and commitment to the desired goal. If you have a partial interest in a subject, it is a good idea to start at the earliest opportunity, as your interest in the matter may increase and you will find yourself enjoying pursuing it.

Learning will be much easier if you are armed with the curiosity to launch, and the patience to follow and continue, because the lack of a pre-established program to follow means that there is no control over the flow of information to you, which means a lot of new terms at the same time, and a lot of information that seems at first glance incoherent.

2. Set SMART goals

In other words, decide what you want. It would be absurd to start without knowing the purpose and purpose of what you are about to do. Setting goals is the basis for success in life, and this is even more evident when it comes to learning. Goals help focus and not get distracted in endless directions, and give the motivation to overcome procrastination and procrastination.

Goals must meet the following criteria to be of maximum benefit and thus deserve to be called SMART goals.

  • Specificity: The SMART goal is clear and unambiguous. This standard requires a proper understanding of your own motivations.
  • Measurable: In the sense that you can compare what you have reached and what you want, and act according to how far you are from the goal.
  • Achievable: If you set goals that are too easy, there will not be enough motivation to continue, but if the goals are too difficult, this will increase the possibility of giving up. Try to keep your goals in the balance between the two situations.
  • closely related to what you want to learn.
  • Timing: A SMART goal is temporary, otherwise procrastination will kill motivation to learn.

Some tools and apps help you set and achieve SMART goals.

3. Be methodical in searching for information

Finding information about the subject under study is one of the most important steps in self-learning, and if you are not systematic, you will find that you take from here and there without clear relationships linking the information to form reliable knowledge on the subject. The following are systematic steps for dealing with sources of information.

  • Learn the basics: Start by searching for what you want to learn through search engines. Look first for non-specialized articles that provide a comprehensive view of the topic, such as Wikipedia articles and personal blog posts by experts in the field. You don't need to understand everything at this stage, and you may need to re-read an article more than once to understand it, so be sure to set a schedule to review the unclear points.
  •  Browsing books: while learning the basics of the subject, keep the names of the authors and the topics that are frequently repeated and talked about, and when you have a good idea about the subject, move on to searching for books. Books aimed at children and adolescents may be an appropriate way to obtain valuable information with an easier explanation and an uncomplicated style.
  • Preserving references: As your knowledge of the subject increases, you will find that there are advanced topics that are relatively more difficult than the rest and that there are specialized books or publications that collect a lot of information that is not available in others. Keep them and review them after a while.

4. Apply the acquired skills to maintain them

A person's memory does not retain much of what he learns, so the information begins to evaporate with time. You feel at the beginning, when the information is fresh, that you can use the knowledge you gained from self-learning at any time, but the reality is otherwise. The application of what you have learned helps to establish a deeper understanding of the information and link it to each other, and it also turns the acquired knowledge into a skill that does not require much effort from you to use. When a person starts learning to drive, it will require him to start with a lot of focus and effort, so you will find him keen to pay attention to every movement he makes, and with time many of these movements become just a habit, so driving becomes smooth and the mental effort is less.

Books and websites suggest exercises and tests that can be a means of applying the knowledge gained; However, the best way to apply what you've learned is to do something concrete. If you just learned to program websites, the most appropriate thing to do is to create a website yourself, and the best thing to do while learning a foreign language is to speak and write in it. You can also create a blog and write about what you have learned. Preparing blogs for publication helps to arrange information in your mind and keep it for a long time.

5. Connect with experts and those interested

Distance learners (via correspondence) used to suffer from loneliness and a lack of people to share topics they care about, but the matter has changed a lot with the emergence of communication technologies, including social networks.

Knowledge sharing is one of the best resources that can be used to deepen understanding and acquire new knowledge. Discussion and cognitive debate bring out the best of what the learner possesses and reveal deficiencies in understanding to overcome them. For this reason, associations of experts and learners, whatever the format (mailing list, conference, electronic group, etc.)