We all engage in casual self directed learning

  • Something catches our attention we then look it up in a book, ask someone about it, or (in the case of an activity) try to do it ourselves. If the initial phase sates the curiosity then all is well, if not we will go in search of more information which may include taking an educational course.
  • We have a task at work that we have not done before, we then research and complete the task. If the task is fulfilling then we may engage in further research and eventually change the direction of our work.

With both of these examples the limit and extent of the learning is determined by the individual. The individual has complete autonomy.

Formal learning removes almost all of the individual’s autonomy. The course times, syllabus and criteria are all fixed and non-negotiable.

One drawback of self-directed learning is that of proof of learning. In most cases this is easy to overcome as all one has to do is look for an exam which covers your area of endeavour, find a local centre that will take external candidates and then book your place. NVQs and similar can be speeded up if some elements can be covered by ‘prior learning’ but you will need to provide proof of that.

The main drawback is if there is no exam. It may be possible to use the Credit Accumulation & Transfer System (CATS) or the European Credit Transfer (ECT) educational points systems but here it may be necessary to involve a higher educational establishment. With enough points at the required levels it would be possible to attain a degree.

How may it Work?

Interview with tutor to:

  • Get a better understanding your own needs
  • Set the parameters of your study
  • Arrange tutorials to submit work and get feedback

The interviewing tutor may refer you to a tutor more suited to your area of study or you may opt for a different tutor.

You may wish to:

  • Join a loose or tight group studying a similar area
  • Buddy up
  • Join a message board
  • Go it alone

Tutors or Lecturers May

  • Give group lectures
  • Talk individuals through the same material
  • Be invited to give a lecture on a given subject

Obviously people will need to live and tutors should publish their tariff and conditions. If tutors are invited to address a group as part of their conditions they should be able to set the minimum standards of the venue.

Both students and tutors should be able to publish, through a moderating body, constructive criticism and commendation.

Range of subjects
No limit within the law. Keeping your garden tidy or atomic physics? It doesn’t matter as long as you have access to the materials required for the course and their is a tutor available.back