One of the wonderful things about online education – the reason so many students prefer it – is that it follows a personalized schedule. The model affords students the flexibility and freedom to spread their academic wings.
Formally, this flexibility is called “self-paced learning,” a fundamental tenet of online education. If you’re considering attending an accredited online high school, you might be curious about what exactly self-paced learning entails. This article breaks down the salient points to bring you up to speed.
What Is Self-Paced Learning?
Perhaps the best way to describe self-paced learning is through an analogy. Let’s say that your favourite hobby is playing video games. You love the thrill of discovering new missions, the satisfaction of levelling up and the fun of chatting with friends. These things motivate you to keep playing. So, when you buy a new game, you take the time to learn the world over the course of two, maybe three weeks. Some harder games may take you a month or two. But, working at it for a couple of hours each day, you eventually master the gameplay. The process outlined here is – essentially – a form of self-paced learning.
Self-paced learning is a self-motivated, self-guided mode of education that nevertheless follows a predetermined set of rules, outcomes and skill-building. Instead of learning the gameplay in a new video game, you’re learning math, English, university-level chemistry, etc.
You set the hours each day. You find the motivation within yourself to read through the unit chapters, complete the assignments and take the tests. And you can go as quickly or slowly as you need to go.
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What Are Its Benefits?
Self-paced learning gets a big “seal of approval” from education experts. Contrary to the old model of instructor-paced learning, self-paced education promotes discipline, time management and self-motivation – critical soft skills that will serve you well throughout your life.
Not only that, but self-paced learning is a more democratic way to learn. In a traditional classroom, everyone has to follow a single pace, regardless of whether they understand the material or not. It’s unfair. What if you’re a quick learner who feels hampered by a restricted pace? What if you prefer to take your time to absorb the concepts, but feel that the classroom pace is too fast? Self-paced learning implicitly acknowledges that every learner is different.
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How Can You Tell If Self-Paced Learning Is Right for You?
Let’s look at a couple of examples of people who can benefit from self-paced learning.
Let’s say you live and breathe literature and feel right at home in your English classes. You want to work ahead in your English courses and start grade 12 English (despite being in Grade 11) because you feel confident in your abilities. In this case, you may consider self-paced education to get ahead.
Contrarily, let’s say you were never really a math whiz. It’s not that you don’t understand it; it’s just that it takes you a little more time than others to lock into the concepts. That’s natural! In this case, you may consider self-paced learning to give yourself ample time to achieve a high grade.
Self-paced learning isn’t for everyone. Some students thrive in a teacher-paced environment with hard-and-fast deadlines. But if you count yourself among the many students who prefer a personalized approach, consider an online high school that offers self-paced education.