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Are you a self-directed learner?

  • by: Dr. Emma Zone, VP of Academic Operations at CTU
  • February 04, 2015
  • Tips for Success

CTU STEM Evaluation - self directed learnersAs I have learned more and more about the concepts surrounding STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and encouraging STEM competencies in our educational settings, one prevalent theme of the STEM conversation is related to the value of self-directed learning. While not everyone may have a desire to enter the workforce in a career that is traditionally STEM, the cornerstones of STEM education, especially those related to problem solving, critical thinking, and mindfulness can benefit all of us. While the concept of self-directed learners is not unique to STEM education students, the trait is very prevalent in this area.

Are you a self-directed learner? Read on if you plan ahead, set goals, self-monitor and recognize the need for change.

  1. Self-Directed learners plan ahead: Planning ahead allows you to consider the obstacles you may face and have a plan ahead of time.
  2. Self-Directed learners set goals: Goal setting can be tricky so by setting manageable goals, self-directed learners can monitor progress and keep the end goal in mind.
  3. Self-Directed learners self-monitor: One benefit of having goals means you can monitor your progress towards those goals. Self-directed learners stop and assess if they are meeting their daily, weekly and monthly goals.
  4. Self-Directed learners understand when they need to change and adjust their approach: It’s not always easy to know when things are going astray with our learning. Self-directed learners are able to understand if they do not understand something or if their study plan is not working and then they adjust as needed.

While there are many other elements of STEM competencies that are important, self-directed learning is noteworthy because the concepts can be applied to all learners—not just those interested in STEM fields. In that way, learning about STEM education and workplace skills becomes relevant for us all.

CTU VP of Academic Operations Dr. Emma ZoneDr. Emma Zone serves as the Vice President of Academic Operation at Colorado Technical University. As an educator for more than 15 years, Dr. Zone has experience in a variety of roles at both secondary and higher education institutions.

Dr. Zone’s own educational journey began at the University of Michigan, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in English. She also holds three graduate degrees: a Masters of Education in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Masters of Arts in English from DePaul University and a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership from Argosy University.


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