Reflection on Independent Learning – Week One – Crit101

Originally published here.

Independent learning is learning that is sought out by the learner.  It is defined by the motivation for learning.  My learning experience changed dramatically once I started paying for my own education.  I stopped seeing learning as a means to an end but as an end in itself.  I recognized its inherent value (perhaps because I was aware of its monetary value).  I began to recognize that newfound knowledge has value in itself.  I still believe that everything I learn, enriches my life.  When I am involved in a rich learning experience like participation in a conference or participation in a class, my enrichment is more focused and intense.  

Motivation seems to me the key to independent learning.  I am motivated by an intellectual curiosity. I regularly seek out independent learning opportunities.
I do not know if it is possible to teach someone to be self motivated.  I am not know if motivation is a skill or not.  I do think that curiosity can stimulated and if someone is curious or inquisitive, then they become intrinsically motivated.  My life changed when I visited Europe in high school.  When I realized how much broader the world was than I had assumed, I became curious about topics like art, geography, sociology, and history. I had not really even noticed these topics before.  I began to participate in classes to feed my curiosity rather than just try to get a good grade.  
Perhaps the motivation that drives independant learning can be stimulated through experience.