Are you thinking about taking a course that requires self-paced study? Perhaps you want to earn your Cert IV in Education Supprt Adapt. If so, you may be wondering how to determine if self-paced study is right for you. First, you must understand that self-paced study is exactly what it sounds like. You get to decide when, where and what you study during each session. This is a perfect choice for independent learners. Consider the following seven questions. If your answer is yes to most of them, then you’re likely to enjoy self-paced study.
- Do you like to set your own study hours?
For you, the best time to sit down and study course material may be in the evening after dinner. Or, perhaps your most productive study time is early in the morning before anyone else in your household gets up. In short, you know when you are most alert and ready to study. Alternatively, if you were to choose to study with a group of fellow students or friends, you wouldn’t get the final say on when the session would take place. If you like to set your own hours of study so you can blaze your own path to success, then self-paced study is a good choice for you.
- Do you like learning independently?
Some people enjoy working in study groups with four or five other people. They’re energized by asking fellow group members questions and exchanging ideas. But, if studying with other people is too distracting, then you are probably someone who can handle self-paced study. Chances are, when you study independently, you’re better able to absorb information and retain it for tests and practical use. There is no single right way to study, it’s simply a matter of preference.
- Do you like to choose your own study environment?
Self-paced study is for you if you enjoy choosing your own study environment. Maybe you need a quiet room to study. You prefer to go to the library or even stay at home and study alone in a bedroom. Alternatively, you may find you study better if music is playing or the television is on in the background. In that case, you may go to a cafe to study or to a restaurant to sit in a booth. When you study independently, you can choose the environment that best suits your preferences. You know what is best for you and where you get the most work done.
- Can you create your own organized study schedule?
Self-paced study requires organization and discipline. If you think you can create a study schedule and follow it, then self-paced study is going to be successful for you. Your schedule may include three hours of study per afternoon. You list the subjects and topics you’ll work on for each 20-minute block of time. Or, you may have a study schedule that covers seven days a week. Making a schedule you can consult each day contributes to the efficiency of self-paced study.
- Are you good at staying focused?
If you are good at staying focused and avoiding distractions, then you are a good candidate for self-paced study. When you’re in a study group with others, you are accountable to others in your group. But, when you study alone, it’s your responsibility to stay focused and minimize distractions. An independent learner understands what is distracting and gets rid of those elements before a study session begins. The Internet, television, radio, a CD player and other items can all turn into distractions during a study session if they are allowed to take center stage. If you can limit distractions and set a good tone for the study environment, then self-paced study is for you!
- Can you motivate yourself?
In order to be successful at self-paced study, you have to know how to motivate yourself. No one is going to tell you when to sit down and study. You have to decide when to study and for how long. This is self-motivation. Some independent learners set up a system in which they can earn rewards for achieving small goals. For instance, the person may set a goal to read three chapters in a textbook. If the goal is achieved, then he or she goes out to a movie that evening as a reward. Setting up rewards is a great way to stay motivated when studying. If you enjoy being responsible for your own study efforts, then self-paced study is a good option for you.
- Do you like setting your own educational goals?
The ability to set your own educational goals is a definite sign you can handle self-paced study. Maybe you aspire to take a certain number of course hours per semester. Or, perhaps you want to graduate from college in three years instead of four. Achieving these and other goals takes planning, organization and motivation. Setting goals, monitoring your progress and achieving them are skills necessary for someone taking on a course that requires self-paced study.
Lastly, your answers to these seven questions can help you decide whether self-paced study is for you. It’s not for everybody. Some people can’t seem to concentrate when they are in a room by themselves. They get nervous and uncomfortable without having anyone there to communicate with or exchange ideas with. It’s just the opposite for other people. They love to be alone and enjoy the quiet as they read, take notes and think about the material in front of them. They wouldn’t think of sitting down with a group of people at the library to study for a test. Taking some time to envision the learning situation that’s best for you can pay off in the end. Not surprisingly, making this determination before starting a course involving self-paced study can help you to do your best work.