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Tips to develop skills for self-directed learning

  • Use a time / task calendar
  • Break up a project into small manageable tasks
  • Write a learning plan (or learning contract)
    Steps: write out briefly the four essential components of your learning
    • your objectives
    • your process and resources
    • your target date
    • your standard for evaluation
  • Use Support Systems
    • Be willing to ask your professor for help
    • Ask classmates or colleagues
    • Use online help
    • Contact the university's support services
    • Seek a mentor
  • Know your best learning settings
    • Do you need direct, in-person contact and facilitation?
    • Do you need a quiet, undisturbed setting for study?
  • If you cannot be in your best learning environment, have strategies to adapt to the environment that you have

Reference: Guglielmino, L., & Guglielmino, P. (2003). Becoming a more self-directed learner. In G. Piskurich (Ed.), Getting the Most from Online Learning: A Learner's Guide. West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons.

Other Resources:

Developing Self-Discipline

Some free online tools that may help you organize

Toodledo: Online "to-do" list with organizing capabilities

Evernote: To capture (notes, reminders, websites), organize and search

Delicious: Store, tag, search and share your bookmarks

Dropbox: Allows you to sync your files online and across your computers automatically.

FreeMind: A free mindmapping tool

Of course, there are many others, and although these come with recommendations, they may or may not be the right source for you. Take advantage of what the internet has to offer and search for tools that may help you.