8 Pros and Cons of Self-Education: Is It Worth Your Efforts?
8 Pros and Cons of Self-Education: Is It Worth Your Efforts? : The traditional educational system is facing an unprecedented crisis due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. With most educational institutions still delivering online or blended lessons, international students deferring their studies, and schools closing, there are doubts if education will ever be the same again.
Then, there’s also the financial issue: during the economic crisis, more and more people around the world find higher education unaffordable. But having no education is not an option, either. The solution? Self-education, of course.
Self-education is having momentum due to a multitude of reasons. It’s not only cheaper but more convenient. So, why not opt for it instead of embracing the system?
As with any other issue, there’s a number of arguments pro and contra. For example, the advantages of self-education are:
- being able to study at your own pace;
- facing less pressure;
- being able to choose your own curriculum;
- spending less money on education.
The downsides, however, are:
- more time spent on finishing the program;
- less motivation;
- difficulties with assessing your results;
- less credibility.
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these.
- Comfortable Pace
The most obvious advantage of self-education is the opportunity to study at your own pace. Whether you’re a fast or a slow learner, you can always adapt your schedule and do things the way you prefer without the necessity to keep up with the rest of the class.
Also, learning on your own, you can have as many other occupations as you please. You can work, have a family or a hobby, or all of it at once, and still finish your education. You won’t have to sacrifice anything in order to complete your studies.
- More Time Spent
The flip side of learning at your own pace is that it will most probably take you longer to complete your course or program. Without the need to stick to a specific schedule, most people tend to do things slower, even if more thoroughly.
In addition to that, self-learning usually requires more energy because it’s generally more difficult to study without an instructor. Even if you have a proper online course and don’t need to search for resources, you’ll inevitably be spending more time trying to understand things that could have been explained to you by the tutor.
- Less Pressure
However, learning at your own pace and having no strict deadlines has a positive impact: it diminishes the levels of stress and anxiety. While having no peers to keep up with and no deadlines to adjust to may result in spending more time learning, it also frees you of unnecessary worries.
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- Less Motivation
On the other hand, too much freedom can do harm, too. For instance, students who had to embrace distance learning due to the pandemic often cited the lack of control from their teachers as a major disadvantage. Without the teachers constantly watching their progress, they just didn’t feel motivated enough!
Of course, having no control whatsoever is typically even more difficult to handle. Thus, if you’re not self-motivated and need outside help to stay on track, self-education is probably not for you – you just won’t be able to finish the course.
- You Learn What You Need
School programs are written for an average student – their authors assume that students know certain things and don’t know others. Also, curricula are often overloaded with unnecessary, obsolete information that is just there due to tradition. In reality, every student is unique, and so are their goals.
If you choose self-education, you can pick or even create your curriculum yourself. You won’t need to spend time learning subjects that don’t interest you and attaining knowledge that you won’t ever put to practice.
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- Difficult to Assess
However, there’s the downside to freedom of choice, too. When you’re at school, there are tests and term papers and other means of assessment – but outside of the educational system, there usually are none. So, you’ll have to be your own examinator, and that’s going to be tough.
You may even start to experience stress again because you won’t be able to measure your achievements and understand how well you’ve actually learned something. So, it’s better to take a structured course with a test at the end of it if you want to see a measurable result.
- Lower Cost
Finally, one of the major reasons why more and more people choose self-education is its lower cost. You can even study for free – there are plenty of resources for that on the Internet. But even if you pay, the costs are usually nothing compared to tuition at traditional educational institutions.
- Less Credibility
Still, this comes with a price, as you won’t be able to obtain a traditional degree without attending an actual school, offline or online. Surely, knowledge and experience come first in a professional world, but a proper degree lifts career opportunities on another level – as well as your salary expectations.
Is It Worth the Efforts?
Short answer is – yes. But in order to learn on your own successfully, you need to have some kind of a plan, a roadmap that will lead you to your goal, and be persistent. It’s also crucial to know certain techniques that will make your self-studies efficient. Otherwise, you might end up wasting time.
Like everything, self-education has its strong and weak sides. While it’s true that it is generally beneficial, it’s also not suitable for everyone – many students still learn better within the traditional system. So, weigh the arguments pro and contra and choose what is best for you. Remember that you can combine, too!
8 Pros and Cons of Self-Education: Is It Worth Your Efforts? By Julie Gunn