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How to Motivate Students to Self-Directed Learning?

The modern world is changing rapidly and in a year, life will be radically different from today. That is why such a direction as SLD or Self-directed Learning has recently gained popularity. Modern conditions require the skill of constantly learning new things, otherwise, life will leave you behind. Knowing this, teachers in modern schools are paying more attention not to simply memorizing information, but to motivate students to self-directed learning. So, if you are a teacher, you should pay attention to a new direction. But first, let’s be clear about what SDL is.

What Is SDL?

In short, Self-directed learning is a learning method that takes place without the intervention of third subjects. We can try to compare schooling and self-study to understand why schools and universities interfere with the emergence of their thoughts and interests among students. The school seems to us to be a centralized structure in which everything is subject to strict rules.

Students are forced to read certain textbooks, listen to certain speeches, and attend certain lessons. They are led by the hand throughout the training, not allowing them to turn off the road. Self-directed learning lacks the invisible hand that guides students. And here the choice is completely given to schoolchildren.

However, the process does not slow down from this, but on the contrary, becomes more productive. Moreover, by acquiring the skill of self-study, students ensure a good future for themselves. After all, the 21st century is a century of the new and unknown, and the practice of SDL will come in handy.

What Can Inspire Students to SDL?

The sooner students begin to face the need for independent learning, the better this process will go, however, even if your students graduated from elementary school long ago and will soon become very adults, many things will help them. As paradoxical as it may sound, to let a person go to learn new things on their own, you first need to lead him for a long time next to you. So, here are 4 points that must be met for a successful SDL start:

Assessment of Student Readiness

It is not about how well the student knows a particular subject, but rather about its personality characteristics. The teacher can assess the student’s readiness for independent learning by examining his life attitudes, abilities, and character traits.

This is the first and most important point, since up to this point, the student spent his school time in an atmosphere similar to a military base, with his own schedule, passes, and even a punishment system. Of course, such a system contradicts the SDL ideology, and the teacher’s task is to notice problems in time and help the student to solve them.

Defining Goals

Everything seems to be logical here, in order to come to a specific result, you must first come up with it. Here the teacher should help the student, but before that, you should understand the main mistakes that people make in the process of setting goals.

  • There is no rigor in the goals. This happens when the learning goal is not clearly defined, because of this it is impossible to determine the necessary indicators or set a time frame. Therefore, the clearer and simpler the goal is, the greater the chances of its successful implementation.
  • Lack of reward. Many people think that learning is a goal, but in fact, it is a very long and complicated process. In order not to lose motivation in the middle of the path, the student must constantly see the result of his transformation. So, in order to implement this, it is necessary to work out a competent roadmap of actions, in which there will be a place to check the tasks already completed and the peaks reached.

Choosing a Learning Strategy

Also, the teacher should take part in determining the optimal teaching strategy. There are three of the most obvious:

  • Superficial approach. A method that helps to learn skills for completing school assignments.
  • Strategic approach. Here memory alone is no longer enough because the emphasis is on the organization of the process. Perfect for when you need to, for example, prepare for an exam.
  • Deep approach. This is a level for true professionals when the student goes beyond the curriculum and begins to independently understand the topic. Services such as Studocu allow students access to advanced materials or courses on numerous subjects and significantly deepen their knowledge.


So, SDL is an important area in the life of today’s students. The task of the teacher in this process is to interest the student as much as possible and direct him to the right path. The teacher participates in everything, from the choice of the goal and strategy of teaching to providing the necessary assistance already in the learning process. With all this, the emphasis is on the student’s freedom of action and thought.

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