Independent Learning is Key to Long-Term Success

Developing a generation of independent achievers begins with understanding the characteristics and benefits associated with independent learning. At Achievement House Cyber Charter School, programs are designed to empower students to advocate for their success.

Don Asplen, CEO Achievement House Cyber Charter School

The key to developing a generation of independent achievers begins with understanding the characteristics and benefits associated with independent learning. Independent learning is focused on empowerment. In an academic setting a student-centered approach to learning transfers ownership of the learning process to the student, in comparison, to a more traditional model of lecture, homework assignment, and assessment. This student-centered model provides students with an opportunity to be accountable for comprehension as a measure of learning.

Independent learning empowers students to set their own goals and stay motivated by measuring and assessing their educational advancement. This teaching method enables students to manage their motivation toward learning. At Achievement House Cyber Charter School, students and academic support staff work together to develop individual learning plans. “Individualizing the education process nurtures independence and pride within the student population,” says Don Asplen, President of AHCCS. Striving to achieve their personal goals, further shapes students into successful lifelong learners.”

Benefits identified by research illustrated that independent learners display many favorable scholastic characteristics, these include improved academic performance, increased motivation, confidence, and intellectual creativity. Students also exhibited positive social attributes to include fostered social inclusion and countered alienation from peers.

Developing academic programs that inspire students to embark on learning independently, require a different delivery, assessment and feedback systems. At AHCCS, the first step in transferring ownership of comprehension from the teachers to the students is accomplished by allowing students to set their own academic goals. Personalized educational goals enable students to reflect in a manner that best suits their preferences. This process displaces the one size fits all curriculum with the opportunity for students to take part in the development of their individualized education plan.

To make a student-centered approach viable, teacher and counselor responsibilities must include assisting in devising individualized goals that are attainable and relevant. Teachers should re-model lesson structure to set the stage for asking higher order, open-ended questions to promote critical analysis. Classroom discussions and assignments should focus on expanding learning boundaries, rather than standardizing critical thinking. Studies have demonstrated that this shift psychologically encourages students to become independent. As teachers begin to transition themselves from the first source of inquiry, students become familiarized with the process of research. Comprehension is then specific to their learning style, helping to identify their perception.

Self-assessments and daily logs can be utilized as accountability measurements for students to individually evaluate themselves. Feedback is critical at this point, as it assists a student in concluding which learning strategies are most and least effective. Formative feedback requires that the communication loop be constantly open between the teachers and students concerning the curriculum. This change can bolster comprehension and encourage students to become independent learners.

As educators, it is our job to prepare students for the future. Encouraging students to become self-disciplined learners, support them in achieving their goals, and assisting them to focus over time – limiting time-wasting distractions will serve them to achieve throughout their academic and professional careers.

Source: Achievement House Cyber Charter School

Categories: Educational News

Tags: Adolescent, Continuing Education, Cyber Charter, Education, High School, Independent Learner

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