Independent Studies: Readiness to Learn

Student asking a question in classMany skills and attitudes towards learning are required for success in an independent study environment. The following learning skills assessment tool will help you evaluate your readiness to learn independently. Consider completing this evaluation on your own in addition to being rated by someone else who knows you well. While self-reflection is important, it is always useful to receive feedback from someone else who knows you and how you work. Also, review the scores with your advising faculty member for input. Under the current importance column, a score of 1, for example, indicates that the item is currently very important to you. Under the current skill rating column, however, a score of 1 indicates that you feel you have an excellent set of skills pertaining to the item.

Helpful hint: Return to this review at mid and end points in the unit as a tool for evaluating your skill development.

Skill or competency Current importance
1-very
2-fairly
3-not very
4-unimportant
Current skill rating
1-excellent
2-good
3-adequate
4-poor
Life skills: Organisation of time and resources in your life, co-operation in working with others, available support network    
Independence: Autonomy, self-motivation, self-reliance, resourcefulness, initiative, and judgment    
"Basic” skills: Literacy, numeracy, graphicity, computer literacy, etc.    
Information skills: Ability to find information by: using libraries; abstracts; community resources; interpreting data, charts, tables, timetables, etc.    
Study skills: Organisation of material for projects, note-taking and reading for different purposes, understanding assignment requirements    
Learning to learn: Awareness of task demands, flexibility, self-knowledge of learning preferences, awareness of learning process, self-evaluation    
Planning skills: Ability to design a plan of strategies for meeting learning needs, ability to carry out a plan systematically and sequentially    
Problem development skills: Ability to formulate questions that are answerable through various research activities (projects, library, readings)    
Analytical skills: Ability to select and use most effective means of acquiring information, ability to analyse and organise information, ability to select most relevant and reliable information sources    
Communication skills: Ability to write reports, essays, instructions, discourse, display data, etc.    
Evaluation skills: Ability to collect evidence of accomplishments and have it evaluated, ability to accept constructive feedback from others    
Completion skills: Ability to identify problem areas, ability to revise work, commitment to completing units and program    

An average rating of 1-3 in each column indicates readiness for independent study. An average rating higher than 3 indicates that you may need to seek out some help in certain skill areas as you progress through your unit.

Adapted from:

  • Gibbs, G. (1992). Independent learning with more students. Developing teaching: Teaching more students. Oxford: Oxonian Rewley Press, p.49 Hiemstra, R. (2002).
  • Competencies for carrying out self-directed learning projects. Self-directed Learning Competence, http://home.twcny.rr.com/hiemstra/sdlcompetence.html

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