Online Self-Education: Does it Really Work?

With a wealth of information at our finger tips, it is understandable that we are opting for teaching ourselves new skills. Here is my take on self-education and how to do it effectively.

Many students who cannot afford university costs or just do not function well in the traditional learning environment often times opt for self-education. This basically means that they try and learn as much as they can on a subject or a few, on their own. With the millennials going for entrepreneurship over a desk job, this is just the direction we are moving right now. Some people still believe in receiving a piece of paper that states that they have studies a subject, while other use what they have learned to prove that they have just as much knowledge and skills.

If you are considering self-education and just aren’t sure if it is a good move, we are going to look at how you can make it work. I don’t think it’s a matter of if it works, but rather if others accept it as a form of knowledge or not. No one can ever take education away from you, even if you learned something all on your own. With a wealth of information at our finger tips, it is understandable that we are opting for teaching ourselves new skills. Here is my take on self-education and how to do it effectively.

Study space

You want to take this type of studying as seriously as you would if someone was scoring you at the end of it. Create a study space where you sit down and work when it is time to learn. This does not have to be anything fancy, but just a dedicated space for you to sit down and get started. This helps us psychologically, because our brain starts recognizing this space as a work space and that is important if you are not monitored by a teacher.

One goal at a time

Choose one area of expertise and learn as much as you can about that topic. Do not be all over the place and take on too much at once. Chances are you won’t stick to it if you become overwhelmed. Once you have achieved your goal and have learned as much as you can on one subject, you can move on to something else. A great way to not become bored with self-education is to continue to switch things up. Study something completely different from what you studies before. Even if it is a short course, just to break the monotony of things.

Variety of resources

Using the internet as a source for your learning, it is important to have a variety of resources. You will realize that people’s opinions differ and you can either decide to believe what they are saying or not. Get a few opinions from professionals and see what is most likely to be correct. If you are trying to find lit review help and are searching for lit review topic ideas. Use a few websites and choose the help that best resonates with you.

Not everything online is true

Going from my previous point, you want to check up on facts stated online. Not everything you read is necessarily going to be the truth and you are going to have to use your own discernment to figure out which is and which is not. There will be a lot of contradicting information on various websites, but you are going to have to dig a little deeper and research until you get to what is correct. Academic resources are usually the best sources to use, because you have a better chance of finding information that has been proven by studies.

Practice what you’ve learned

You are going to have to be able to apply the knowledge you have gained. A great way to do this is to set up challenges for yourself and see if you meet the standards of someone who went the traditional learning route. Imagine you are working in the industry you’ve studied and apply your knowledge with practical execution. If you cannot find full time employment yet, work for free for one month and ask the employer to give you a chance to prove yourself. This way you can either find employment or have a good idea of your shortcomings and use that to further educate yourself.

Believe in yourself

With all the time you’ve put into self-education, you need to believe that you have what it takes to do as well as someone with traditional learning. Sometimes when you learn by yourself, you are able to add a lot more knowledge, because the only one that can decide when you are done.


My opinion is that self-education definitely works, if you do it correctly. Many employers are interested in getting projects done and a piece of paper does not prove that you are that person. You may have to work harder to prove yourself at first, but everyone will soon learn that you have gone the extra mile to improve your knowledge. Before you know it, you will be known as an expert in your field.

No one is going to be able to take what you’ve learned away from you. Only you can decide how successful you want to be. Get your confidence up there because some people may believe that you cannot self-teach yourself. All that’s left to do is to prove them wrong and apply what you’ve learned. A lot of professionals have not attended University and they still managed to come out on top.




Rebekah Rinckey


Photo credit: Getty Images

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