The Complete Self-Learning Guide

For students, graduates, professionals, and life-long learners, self-learning is an incredibly valuable skill. Have you ever heard of self-taught designers, marketers, developers or data scientists? Or, you might have stumbled across the study web where students use self-learning to reach their academic goals. Following the shift to remote education during the lockdown, self-learning is becoming the new norm. However, navigating the endless self-learning opportunities available can be overwhelming. In this blog, we’ll cover an overview of self-learning, five steps for success, and how Jamworks can accelerate your self-learning experience.


What is Self-Learning? 

Self-learning is where an individual chooses to take the initiative in their personal learning. A self-learner identifies their learning needs, sets learning goals, gathers the relevant resources, and chooses how to evaluate their learning outcomes. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing world, this is how many are choosing to upskill outside of education and work. The internet has presented us with a wide range of resources for self-learning. The options are endless, from textbooks and articles to podcasts, Youtube videos, and online course platforms.

Now, social media content is also being considered a form of micro-learning as people share informative threads, infographics, and videos. Many self-learners use video or audio-based content to make the learning process more engaging. Learning in this way can make it easier for self-learners to understand their learning material – an essential first step to learning effectively! In videos, complex concepts can be broken down into visual explanations, animations, and live tutorials or demonstrations. After developing an understanding of the core concepts, self-learners can then supplement their learning with extra reading-based resources.


The Benefits of Self-Learning

But why are people dedicating all this time and energy to self-learning? First, this learning process is within your control. You get to pick the learning material, the outcome measures, and the learning methods and techniques. This makes self-learning incredibly appealing to a wide variety of individuals. Second, self-learning can help you to reach your goals and upskill in this fast-paced world. For students, self-learning can help them achieve their desired grades, or specialise in an area of their degree subject. 

For professionals, this skill can help them excel and progress in their careers or change career paths entirely. Many are also choosing to upskill to have remote jobs or side hustles that bring in extra income while they study or work a day job. Formal education is costly and time-consuming. Self-learning provides a flexible learning opportunity for individuals to change their lives on their own time and within their budget. Finally, some people really love learning. It can be incredibly rewarding to learn a language, a subject of interest, or a skill without the formal pressure of deadlines and classes. 


5 Steps for Self-Learning Success 

girl self-learning on floor with planner on laptop and laptop next to herDefine Your Self-Learning Goals 

Your self-learning journey begins without much guidance. That’s why defining your own goals can provide a sense of direction. Ask yourself three questions: What do you want to learn? Why do you want to learn it? And how long will you dedicate to it? You might be self-studying a topic for your degree. Or working towards an online certification to upskill at work. Alternatively, you might be self-learning a skill from scratch. Your goal might look like this: I want to self-learn the basics of marketing within the next month to expand my skill set. These goals can help you to set the right milestones and timeframes for your self-learning schedule. 


Select a Few Resources

Choosing the right resources to get started can feel overwhelming. There’s a wide range of resources available which makes it easy to fall into the paradox of choice. So, where do you start? First, do some basic online research. Find the recommendations others have made through blog posts or on platforms like Youtube or Reddit. Keep this research to a minimum and pick out 2-3 resources that seem to cover enough to get you started. Second, don’t look any further. In the beginning, most courses and resources will provide enough for the basics. Start learning first and you can then find advanced resources later. This is important for avoiding procrastination. 


Define a Learning Roadmap or Framework

Effective self-learning requires some personal organisation and planning. You can use your goals and resources to outline a roadmap for learning. Set small goals related to the resources chosen. For example, your wider goal might be to learn marketing basics. A smaller goal could be: I want to understand social media metrics and produce my own mini-report within the next month. 

You can then use this small goal to organise learning material into key topics or actions to reach that goal. These well-defined small goals and timeframes provide structure for your self-learning sessions. You can simply start by writing down the topic, how long it will take to learn, and the resources you will use. Don’t worry if you’re unsure where to start with goals just yet, start learning the basics on the topic and this will become clearer. Learning what key topics or skills are involved could also be of your self-learning goals.


Learn Just Enough 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of learning and consuming information. However, learning the information and being able to apply it independently is very different. That’s why mini-projects have been mentioned alongside the goals above. Learn just enough and then use projects to apply this knowledge and skills. Project-based learning can help you fill the gaps in your knowledge. Even if you start the project and realise, there’s something you don’t know. This is the perfect way to learn with an outcome in mind. Now, you’re learning that topic to progress in your project. 

You can find existing projects online from other self-learners. Or, take real-world examples and turn them into your own projects. This also sets you up with a portfolio of work if you intend to demonstrate this skill for work or freelancing. You can seek feedback from other self-learners online or find a mentor who already specialises in that subject or skill, and ask for some support. 

For some learning subjects, projects might not be possible. Instead, try teaching that topic to someone else. This could be in-person through a discussion or by writing up a mini blog post about what you know. Alternatively, you can try out the Feynman technique to test and improve your understanding. Learning itself can easily become a comfortable form of procrastination. There are unlikely to be any formal assessments to keep you on track. That’s why challenging yourself and applying your knowledge and skills is beneficial. 


Maintain Self-Learning Consistency 

You can maintain a self-learning routine by having some external accountability. This could be a friend, a learning buddy, or a public promise to produce a project or write about your experience. Think about what you value to find a good accountability method. For example, if you value keeping your word, making a promise to someone can motivate you. Or, if you value spending your money with intention, investing in resources with your money can serve as a motivator. 

Another way to maintain consistency is by using time management and progress tracking. For time management, you can block off time for self-learning in your calendar. This might look like every Tuesday and Friday morning, I will spend 30 minutes self-learning at my local cafe. For progress tracking, you can simply check off your list of topics and resources as you go. Or, check out this visual guide of different progress-tracking templates to follow.


How to Take Self-Learning Notes with Jamworks

Jamworks is a personal productivity learning tool that provides assistive note-taking, live captioning, and transcription for in-person and online meetings, lectures, and seminars. For self-learners, Jamworks can record live webinars, in-person or online classes, Youtube videos, or online course material. This tool makes it easy for your video or audio-based learning material to live in one space with your notes. 

During the recordings, you can use Jamworks’ assistive note-taking features:


Distraction Free Notes with 1-Button Highlighting

1-button highlighting helps you to break your learning material into smaller sections, topics, and examples. Youtube tutorials, online courses, or webinars can often be hours long. Jamworks makes it easy to divide this content into easy-to-access sections later on – all with the click of a button. This allows you to focus on the material being taught without worrying about getting every detail down. 


Flags and Trackback Features

Jamworks offers two more valuable features for note-taking during recordings: flags and trackback. You can hit the flag button to mark a point of interest. This could be something relevant to a project, or simply something you’d like to learn about in depth. Trackback is useful when you lose focus and forget to highlight a section. Instead, you can use trackback to skip back increments and start the highlight without pausing or rewinding the material. This is even more useful for live classes and webinars where you have no option to pause or rewind. 

Now, let’s explore the power of Jamworks’ highlight feature for building a self-learning knowledge base, and implementing evidence-based study techniques. 


The Power of Highlights

For effective self-learning, it’s important to keep your learning materials organised. However, this can be a challenge for self-learners using multiple resources. Your notes and video resources are unlikely to live in one place, especially with cross-platform learning. This makes it inconvenient to locate the source material for your notes, which isn’t ideal for most subjects. Especially for the tutorial or example-based subjects – you’ll have to collect detailed notes, and screenshots, or frequently revisit the video just to check something.

The good news is – Jamworks creates a dedicated note-taking space for your video learning material. For each highlight, you can add personal notes, attach resources, and review the content of that highlight. Your notes, resources, and video material will be stored in one place. These notes and recordings are also stored online which makes them easy to access on the go. We’ll now dive into Jamworks’ smart features that can accelerate your self-learning. 


Review Material with Ease

A common problem with self-learning is reviewing material regularly. This is important for checking long-term understanding and preventing forgetting. However, with no exams, or external commitments, you might not feel motivated to review old material. Jamworks uses artificial intelligence to make this an easy process. For each highlight, Jamworks produces an AI-powered smart summary. This makes review simple and easy. You can also review highlights as audio clips from the original video or a transcript snippet. So, if you are working on projects, you can quickly find what you need. 

Finally, Jamworks uses AI to turn those highlights into Flashcard-style quizzes. If you don’t feel like skimming through the material yourself, let Jamworks quiz you using your highlights. Flashcards are the best way to review material because they prompt you to use the best study technique – active recall. This helps you to excel in self-learning by making the review process easier.


Start making the most of your self-learning journey today – try Jamworks Free.

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