Exploring the Advantages of Self-Paced Learning
A few short decades ago, most classrooms looked the exact same. For starters, they were a physical classroom comprised of desks and a chalkboard. But more than that, they almost always adhered to a strict, instructor-led model. The teacher stood at the front of the class, dispensing lectures, demanding deadlines and encouraging students (sometimes by using consequences) to do their work.
Now, classrooms look different. Some have still stuck to that physical, instructor-led model. Meanwhile, others have embraced a new kind of education: self-paced learning.
Self-paced learning involves each student progressing through a course at their own speed. Essentially, you create a personal schedule and work at your own pace, spending longer on challenging concepts or breezing through units you understand easily.
Many educational experts tout the advantages of self-paced learning. Below, explore a few key benefits.
Self-Paced Learning Enables Students to Work Ahead
Sometimes, students get bored with a strict, universal classroom pace. They understand the material, but it moves so slowly that they become disengaged and “checked out.”
In a self-paced model, confident students can work ahead. They can finish a course quicker if they understand the material, thereby advancing to the next level faster. It’s a fantastic alternative for gifted students who want to graduate sooner.
It Also Allows Students to Catch Up
On the other side of the coin, some students feel pressured by a universal classroom pace. The material moves too quickly for them to absorb and retain it adequately. And they feel a nagging need to compete with their peers rather than genuinely engage with the course content. In these cases, the result is the same as above: students disengage, feeling that there’s no point in trying.
Self-paced studies change all of that. In a self-paced classroom, students can take as long as they need to grasp complex concepts, readings and/or projects. They don’t feel left behind, or as though they need to compete with peers.
Flexible Schedules Let Learners Pursue Extracurricular Passions
Self-paced learning is often practiced remotely in online schools or virtual classrooms. As such, a student’s schedule is flexible. If they want to study for eight hours on a Saturday and take Monday off, they’re free to do so. If they want to study at night rather than the day, they’re more than welcome.
This flexibility allows a student to nurture their life away from school – the life they want. Students can sink their teeth into passion projects, hobbies, sports and extracurricular passions while still carving out time to earn their diploma.
Asynchronous Learning Fosters Self-Reliance, Self-Discipline and Intrinsic Motivation
Lastly, self-paced learning can foster essential soft skills like self-reliance, self-discipline, time management and intrinsic motivation.
Because self-paced models entrust students with overseeing their own education, students must hone these skills from within. They learn how to manage their time by plotting out deadlines and scheduling study sessions. And without an omnipresent teacher forcing them to study, they practice intrinsic motivation – an internal sense of reward from their studies.
If you’re interested in reaping the benefits of self-paced learning, research schools in your region based on the model. As mentioned, most modern online schools adhere to the model. Just make sure to choose an accredited, well-respected digital institution.