If the following statements accurately describe you, then you consider yourself a highly self-directed learner and may do well in online studies. If not, you may need to speak with an adviser about whether online study is right for you before enrolling in an online course at the University of Missouri.

  • I believe I am responsible for my own education; what I learn is ultimately my responsibility. For example, I am responsible for communicating with my professor when I have difficulty understanding or obtaining answers to questions I might have about assignments, material and content.
  • I am good at completing tasks independently (i.e., I don't need others to encourage or remind me to complete assignments).
  • I achieve goals I set for myself.

What Is a Self-directed Learner?

Self-directed learners actively manage their education by deciding what they will learn and how they will learn it. They are autonomous learners who require less instruction to stay motivated and on-track. Self-directed learners tend to evaluate their performance and make any needed changes so that they get the most out of their online courses.

What Are the Habits of a Self-directed Learner?

You can become a self-directed learner by doing the following:

  • Assess your goals. Ask yourself why you want to take a particular course and what you hope to learn from it. Write down a list of objectives to help yourself stay focused and motivated.
  • Manage your time. Log into your course on a regular basis, create a calendar to track due dates, and establish a study routine.
  • Identify additional learning resources. Increase your knowledge and motivation by varying the ways in which you learn: seek out additional information through books or the Internet, watch video lectures, find a study partner or join an online learning community.
  • Evaluate yourself. Take a critical look at your performance as you go and target areas for improvement. Try to identify which learning strategies produce the best results.