Independent learning can be defined as a process in which students set academic goals, assess and monitor their academic progress towards chosen goals on their own. This type of learning is essential for students to become successful and reach their learning goals efficiently.
Experts say that students who are involved in deciding what and how they learn, they are more engaged in the classroom and motivated to accomplish assignments & deadlines in a timely manner. Because they are exceptionally focused on their learning goals and perform well in the class to achieve higher grades.
As an educator, you should show and tell students that they are capable of more and can achieve their goals more effectively by becoming independent learners.
This blog post contains some proven ways you can empower your students to become more independent in the class and chase their goals greatly.
Make learning goals clear
Sharing learning goals with your students helps them see what they are about to learn and can easily assess whether they are on the right track or not. You can do this at the start of a semester or a series of lessons. Even if you are setting goals yourself, involve students in the goal-setting process to let them know what they will learn and how you are about to deliver lessons.
Personalize learning goals
Depending on the strengths, weaknesses, and learning pace of students, try to set different goals for different students to help them learn effectively. For this purpose, you can make a group of students based on their learning habits, and strengths. It would be great for students if they are setting goals themselves. Personalized learning goals help students learn according to their individual learning skills and paces. As a result, they become independent learners to secure higher grades.
Assign groups strategically
Students are better able to learn effectively when they learn together. Group learning inspires students and allows them to learn from each other’s knowledge. To make group study efficient, put excellent students in groups with weaker ones so they can learn from students who are performing well in the class. Also, walk around them when they are studying in groups to make sure they are focused on assigned tasks and encourage each other to meet deadlines. In this way, they can accomplish assignments and other academic activities with improved focus and by getting guidance from strong students.
Improve collaboration skills
Collaboration is one of the best ways to help students become independent learners. Not only in class but encourage students to collaborate with each other outside the class to accomplish group projects in the best possible way. Thanks to advanced technology, there are a lot of collaboration tools like Google Docs available. Students can use such collaboration tools to work on group projects together even when they are in their own homes. A lot of distance learning tools are also accessible over the web that helps students collaborate digitally.
Google Doc is a free and most effective tool that you can use in the classroom and outside for collaboration. It allows multiple students to view, edit and share documents at the same time. When there is an alteration made in the project or assignment, it has immediately shown up to all the other students who are viewing the document to collaborate or brainstorm. Online collaboration tools help students prevent driving to each other’s location and meet each other in-person for collaboration. It saves a big deal of time, increases productivity, and makes them independent learners.
Provide opportunities to reflect on learning
As a good teacher, you should encourage students to reflect on their learning performance. It helps them monitor whether they are on the right track to meet chosen academic goals or not. It also helps them become aware of their learning habits, strengths, and academic progress. Reflecting on learning progress and goals increases self-confidence and motivation in students so they can learn independently. There is no a lot of time required for reflection and assessment as you can just spend a few minutes at the end of the school day to ask the students how they are learning their lessons and what changes should be made to improve the teaching/learning process for better progress.