Will self-taught education lead the way? Source: Dollar Gill/Unsplash

From the click on an online search bar to the scroll of free online study materials, it’s easy for all of us to access resources that will aid self-teaching students.

Described as a do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to education, learners are creating their own curriculum structure through online short courses, boot camps and virtual conferences.

Perceived as a popular topic in The Global Learner Survey 2019 by Pearson, a DIY mindset was identified as a trend among survey respondents this year.

“With ready access to technology and a changing global economy, people are taking matters into their own hands. They are patching together their education from a menu of options and they believe that self-service learning will become even more commonplace as people seek education across their lives,” notes the report.


Why do students prefer self-teaching methods? Source: Wyron A/Unsplash

Pearson also reports that 81 percent of people globally believe learning will become more DIY the older you get, and that people will continue to upskill by learning on their own terms.

And when asked the question, “If you had to learn something new for your career quickly, which method would you most likely pursue?”

More respondents opted for a short training programme such as a boot-camp, a certificate programme or something offered by a professional association to boost their career skills, rather than an accredited university or a free resource such as a YouTube video.

Expecting digital and virtual learning to be the new norm in the next decade, universities may need to prepare for an influx of self-taught learners by offering new certificate programmes and boot-camps that cater for their needs.

Reviewing the use of smart devices and virtual learning devices, the report states that “76 percent of people globally agree more college/university students will attend school virtually vs. attending a traditional school within ten years.”

And from a consumer perspective, Zach Williams believes phones and tablets are a go-to shopping resource for DIY shoppers, allowing them to scroll through digital education offerings, browse online reviews of the academic experience or download virtual learning tools.

Therefore, if universities want to draw the attention of self-taught students, publishing testimonials of their online offerings and ensuring their virtual learning tools are user-friendly are wise investments to make.

After all, digital and virtual learning will be the “new normal in the next decade”.

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