1. Taking the Initiative to Learn
The successful self-directed learner does not wait for the assignment to learn a topic but seeks out the learning opportunities available and finds a particular topic that adds to the learner’s business or personal goals. The successful self-directed learner can work autonomously while understanding that they work best with a specialist in the topic area and when they make time to include them in their group of contacts.
2. Persistence and self-discipline
Practice, practice, practice - successful self-directed learners practice the skills learned because they are aware that developing good skills is a process. Doing the learning well, is essential to the team that the learner may be associated with. The self-directed learner maintains the discipline to challenge problems as they arise instead of viewing them as road blocks.
3. Strong motivation to learn
From the moment we are born, we learn. We learn how to get our parents attention, learn to crawl, walk, etc. Then we go to school where others choose what we learn but throughout all of that we learn other things that interest us individually. A strong motivation and curiosity to learn is with a self-directed learner all their life while learning things like new recipes, how to fish, how to write code, and learn a new language.
4. Utilizes good study skills
Learning to use good study skills early in life can last a lifetime. Taking notes is one of the first techniques learned in school, learning by watching and learning by repetition such as in learning an instrument or a language. Practice, practice, practice was the joke’s answer to “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” Being confident that one can maintain the process to complete their goals and organizing one’s time are also a part of a self-directed learner’s practices.
5. Has a plan
Where do you want to end up? What do you want to accomplish? How quickly do you want to complete your study? Making a plan that encompasses all of those questions with the appropriate answers means the self-directed learner is goal-oriented and can define the process steps that will assure accomplishing the learning path. How effectively one utilizes the plan becomes the key to lifelong learning.
Encourage those in your environment to cultivate their curiosity and to utilize the above practices to become self-directed learners, at any age, so that they become successful in continuing to add to their personal notebook of topics, procedures and newest challenges.