Self-directed learning

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Self-directed learning is self-learning in which the student choses his materials and her directions (i.e. goals). Self-directed learning is the basis of the success and popularity of unschooling. The efficiency of self-directed learning is based on the fact that, by definition, it is strongly influenced by the learn drive, and nearly always satisfies the fundamental law of learning. This makes it possible to build high quality knowledge via emergence.

In a vast majority of cases, in homeschooling, parents quickly discover that self-directed learning is by far more efficient than learning based on a specific curriculum, however, in many countries, it is not legal to step away from the compulsory curriculum. Once parents free the kids of the rigid curriculum, homeschooling becomes unschooling, and the pleasure of learning helps the kids thrive. Similar terms used for self-directed learning: self-directed education (SDE), self-regulated learning (SRL), and autodidacticism. I use the all-encompassing term free learning to mean roughly the same thing.

See also: Why the present system of schooling will collapse soon

This glossary entry is used to explain "I would never send my kids to school" (2017-2024) by Piotr Wozniak

The advantages of self-directed learning over structured schooling can be illustrated with the crystallization metaphor:

Crystallization metaphor of schooling and unschooling
Crystallization metaphor of schooling and unschooling

Figure: In perfect schooling we create a perfect crystal of knowledge. In college, we add an extra crystal of specialization. In reality though, learning looks a bit less perfect. For most kids, knowledge never builds sufficient coherence and falls apart due to interference (i.e. fast forgetting). As a result, in real schooling, knowledge asymptotically reaches a certain volume and keeps churning around from that point on with little progress in stability or coherence. In contrast, in free learning, the acquisition of knowledge is chaotic and uneven. However, as long as it is based on the learn drive, the volume of knowledge is very large. Individual crystals of knowledge collide, and build consistency and coherence. This in turn helps stability and further integration of knowledge. By the time of college, in terms of volume, free learners should know far more than ordinary students. Free knowledge has multiple areas of strength, and multiple areas of weakness. However, it is superior in coherence. This is why it is more applicable in problem solving

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