Independent study means different things for different people. For the university student, the process of reading, analysis and evaluation needed to succeed academically . For the gifted student, an opportunity to go beyond a regular class setting. Or a home-schooled child who alternates between guided and self learning. What does self-study mean to you?

An educational study that caught the global attention of many called, the “Hole In The Wall” experiment. Sugata Mitra is the educational researcher behind the experiment and winner of the 2013 TED prize. The experiment helps the researcher discover that children are capable of teaching themselves. It confirms the theory that self-promoted learning with limited guidance is possible.

hole-in-the-wall-wt-640x360

Photo Credit: http://www.fiinovation.co.in/

 

Another educator revolutionising learning today is Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy. Initially Salman began tutoring his cousin over the Internet which soon moved to YouTube, became a channel, and is now a non-profit online academy worldwide. His passion has benefited students around the world with his efforts, including rural areas such as Africa and Asia.

Khan Academy

Photo Credit: http://www.calendow.org/about/The_Khan_Academy__Teaching_Medical_Knowledge_to_the_Masses.aspx

 

A tutorial from the Khan Academy website

Photo Credit: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/apr/23/sal-khan-academy-tutored-educational-website

 

Self-study does not replace the role of the teacher. Rather, it is an environment in which verbal and nonverbal activities are exchanged between the teacher and student. Preferably, to act as a facilitator instead of dictator. Although some students may show high abilities in processing new information, some do not have the skills to be successful in independent learning. By learning content through guided and independent study, students gain the necessary skills needed for self-directed learning.

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I don’t believe that technology or the promotion of self-study should ever replace the value of a teacher. Rather, these tools should help restore the true goal of what education should be. It’s time we take these power tools and learn how to learn again. We owe it to our minds!

 

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