Self-paced learning is a powerful learning model that enables students to optimize learning for their own needs. By handing the scheduling of curricula and lesson activities over to students, educators uncover potential learning opportunities previously obscured by rigid timetables and schedules. But in a busy world, students can often feel pressures on their time and commitment. Additionally, newcomers to self-paced learning can struggle with a lack of formal structure. To help, we’ve devised the following list of self-paced learning strategies to keep you, or your students, on track and motivated towards your learning goals.
1. Use Your eLearning Community
Although self-paced learning allows students to study when it most suits them, the lack of a classroom atmosphere can sometimes cause students to feel isolated and lonely. Fortunately, an LMS provides collaborative social learning tools that combine the benefits of self-paced learning with the camaraderie and support of classmates. Whether it’s sharing useful resources, chatting about critical ideas, or discussing difficult parts of texts, reaching out through collaborative functions is always beneficial.
Example Activity: Create (or ask your learning coordinator to set up) a general discussion forum on your LMS, so that you and your classmates can post your concerns, questions and ideas as you study.
2. Keep a Regular Schedule
Although self-paced learning allows students to tailor their learning to their personal needs, a regular learning routine is still important. Studies have shown that it is the act of self-paced learning above all that provides learner benefits, rather than any specific type of learning activity. Because of this, whether you’re deeply engaged with the material, or only have the time and energy for a brief summary session, the most important thing is to complete some kind of learning activity.
Example Activity: Create a seven-day schedule that supports your learning curriculum. Within your schedule, build in ‘intensive’ and ‘light’ study sessions that you can choose from, depending on other commitments and pressures that arise during the day.
3. Deep Dive with Your References
One of the biggest advantages of self-paced learning is that it gives students the flexibility to look more deeply into topics that capture their interest. Furthermore, eLearning provides the perfect environment in which to easily perform in-depth research. Combining these two capabilities therefore creates the opportunity for students to come up with considerate, original material that is appropriate to the highest levels of professional research or academia.
Example Activity: Keep an annotated bibliography of resources that you come across, as you progress through your course. Add a note next to those resources that you find particularly interesting, so that you can continue looking into those topics when you have time.
4. Teach What You Learn
Something that self-paced learners often miss is the opportunity to express to others what they’ve learned. Not only is it enjoyable to share knowledge among friends and peers, recent studies have shown just how valuable teaching others can be to your own learning. Because teaching requires mentally retrieving knowledge, reformulating it, and communicating it, the process of teaching involves many of the most important key learning principles.
Example Activity: Use your LMS’s collaborative learning functionalities to give brief topic presentations to your classmates. Coordinate your presentations so that each class member presents on a different topic.
5. Get to Know the Functionality of Your LMS
Understanding the full potential of your LMS in essential in allowing you to unlock better studying and scheduling practices. Whether it’s the benefits of mobile eLearning for studying during your commute, or consulting electronic rubrics to gain a clear understanding of course expectations. The better you can utilize your learning management system using your learning analytics, the more efficient your self-paced learning will become.
Request a Demo with Lambda Solutions to experience the features of an open source talent and learning management solution like Moodle or Totara Learn.