Self-Directed Learning (Autodidacticism)
Definition: "A process in which students take the
initiative to diagnose their learning needs, formulate learning goals, identify
resources for learning, select and implement learning strategies, and evaluate
learning outcomes. The role of the instructor shifts from being the 'sage on the
stage' to the 'guide on the side' in a self-directed learning environment."
Self-directed learning puts the control, and
responsibility, into the hands of the student. You decide what
your objectives are, what you want to learn, and the efforts you
will employ to gain that new knowledge. That is a reward in
itself, and the advantages for the entrepreneur are obvious, but
this begs the question of its value to employment. The
following video series demonstrates the points of selling oneself in
the job search. As you view, you might begin to see how the
skills you gain for yourself can be profiled in your job search,
career change, or career advancement.
The following list further provides qualities that you, as a
dedicated autodidactist, can confidently include in your personal profile:
Characteristics of Self-Directed Learners
Self-Directed Learning Resources
Take confidence - many great accomplishments came from the
hands and minds of the self-taught!
Famous Self-Taught People
If he’s not the most famous college dropout in American history, he is for sure
the wealthiest. Bill Gates as if you didn’t know is co-founder of Microsoft and
easily the richest man in the world.
Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922)
Self-taught inventor of the telephone and telegraph. His college experience
consisted only of attending a few lectures.
Richard Branson (1950-)
Flamboyant British billionaire Branson chose business instead of college. He is
the owner of Virgin Records, and Atlantic Airways among others.
Robert Burns (1759-1796)
Often referred to as Scotland’s National Bard, poet and songwriter Robert Burns
educated himself principally through reading."
Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
An icon of the era of American industrialization and at one time the richest man
in the world, Andrew Carnegie said “no man becomes rich unless he enriches
others.” He received his education not through school but through work and
became one of the world’s greatest philanthropists.
Arthur C. Clarke (1917-)
Arthur C. Clarke is one of America’s most celebrated science fiction writers.
Too poor to go to college, he educated himself by reading magazines. He has
written more than 60 books, with 50 million in print. These include 2001: A
Space Odyssey, and 2010: Odyssey Two.
Walter Cronkite (1916-)
One of America’s most celebrated journalists and longtime CBS news anchor,
Cronkite dropped out of college to work for the Houston Post in 1935.
College dropout turned richest man in Texas. Dell left college after one
semester to sell computers. Today Dell is considered one of the most dynamic
computer companies in America. Would you hire this dropout at your high tech
company or would you require an MBA?
Charles Dickens (1812-1870)
Thought by many scholars to be the greatest English novelist of all times
Charles Dickens had his childhood schooling cut short in favor of factory labor
while his father served time in debtor’s prison. With his formal education over
at the age of 15 he furthered his learning in the courts as a clerk and as a
newspaper journalist. Charles Dickens’ works are too numerous to mention, but a
few you’ll likely recognize are David Copperfield, A Tale of Two Cities,
Bleakhouse, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist, and Little Dorrit.
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931)
Thought by some of his teachers to be too stupid for school, Thomas Edison was
taught at home by his mother in his early years. Eventually this self-taught
scientist would himself become the big bang of technology, holding more than
1000 patents and pioneering such technology as the electric light and the
"Thomas Alva Edison was beaten at school with a heavy leather strap because his
teacher considered him "addled" for asking so many questions.
He was chastised so much that his mother took him out of school after only three
months' formal education. He went on to become probably the most prolific
inventor of all time."