8 Traits Of A Self-Directed Learner

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Feb 22, 2019

No doubt, we are now in a fast-changing world. More and more technological advancements and innovations are being introduced every day. Now more than ever, your ability to learn quickly has become one of the most important skills you will need. If you want to prepare for the different jobs of the future, you have to pay attention to your learning. You also need to constantly improve your skills even outside school. One way to do this is by being proactive in the way you learn.  Here are ten traits of self-directed learner that you can follow:

1. They take the initiative.

What is your initial reaction when assigned to do a certain task you haven’t done before? Would you wait for other people to teach you how to do it? Or are you someone who finds out what you need to know? When a problem arises, do you wait for someone to fix it? Or are you proactive and fix the problem yourself?

Self-initiative is the core trait of self-directed learners. People who have self-initiative are confident to speak and share their ideas. They are not afraid to grab opportunities that others pass up.  

2. They explore independently.

Self-directed learners have a high degree of curiosity. They have a lot of questions and always want to know the whys and hows of things. They are not afraid of independence. Being independent does not mean that self-directed learners isolate themselves from the crowd. Networking and collaborating with people is still an essential part of learning. But self-directed learners know how to adapt to their environment. They know how to use their resources and depend on themselves.

3. They accept responsibility.

Responsible people are eager to do tasks at hand and finish them at the right time. They take accountability for their actions and behavior. This is because they know that other people trust and depend on them.

Another trait linked with responsibility is self-discipline. Being self-disciplined means you are punctual with your appointments. It means that you do your work with initiative, and you follow rules and regulations even if no one is watching you.

4. They have a healthy outlook in life.

Setbacks and failures are the inevitable part of any learning process. Sure, problems can cause stress to anyone. But what makes self-directed learners different from other people? They see problems as challenges, rather than obstacles.

Self-directed learners see challenges as opportunities to grow, to learn, and to improve. This positive mentality allows them to handle difficult situations productively. It would be impossible not to experience any pressures. But when you have this growth mindset you will not be easily shackled when things get tough.

5. They are naturally motivated.

Intrinsic motivation refers to the behaviors that are driven by internal rewards. For example, you enroll in an online coding course, because you want to gain more technical skills. On the other hand, extrinsic motivation occurs when you are motivated by external rewards, such as when you enroll in an online coding course to avoid failing in your class.

When was the time you engaged in an activity simply because you like to? Successful self-directed learners want to know things simply because they love to learn. They engage in various activities they feel are personally rewarding.

6. They know basic study skills.

Did you know that the benefits of basic study skills such as note-taking go beyond school? In fact, note-taking is an essential skill you will need when you start your career. Basic study skills such as asking the right questions, self-explaining, and practice testing also help make you a competent learner.

7. They know how to manage time.

Dealing with multiple tasks is one of the greatest challenges that people face each day. With so many things on your plate, time management can help you make time for learning. But you don’t need to rush yourself or do things in one sitting. Remember that the way you learn is also as important as the outcome you wish to get.

8. They are self-aware.

One of the greatest traits of good learners is self-awareness. Being self-aware involves knowing who you are: your personality, values, and future goals. People who are self-aware understand their strengths and weaknesses. This ability helps them identify which learning style best applies to them.

So how can self-awareness help you become better at school and beyond? Your ability to understand your qualities lead to better decision making. For example, being aware of your strengths can help you choose the right strand for senior high or degree for college.

In the end, being a self-directed learner is a lifelong process. What you learn in school is just the start of an endless journey towards self-development. But by following the traits above, you will have the confidence to digest new ideas with ease!

Which of these traits describe you well as a learner? Do you have any weak points that you want to improve? There are so many things that you can do to maximize your learning in and out of school.

We’re here to help you make more informed decisions from senior high school and beyond! Find more resources like this in the blog.



Written By:
Karl Nicole Nucum

Karl has been in the writing industry for more than five years now. She finished Bachelor of Arts in English Major in Broadcast Journalism. Aside from happily doing household chores, her most productive spare time includes reading tech articles and learning more about digital marketing.

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