Online Self-Directed Learning: My Experience

Hello. If you follow me, you must have noticed that my posts have been quite inconsistent for a while. There are two reasons for it – one, I have been feeling a little anxious and depressed since my husband’s last seizure; two, I’m studying for an online course I started last year.

Being a stay-at-home Mom in the midst of the pandemic (with on-and-off lockdowns), I could not sign up for a full-time course, so I chose online, self-directed or asynchronous learning instead. It basically means that you sign up for the course, you have a facilitator to post course content, assign projects/assignments/discussion topics, answer any questions you may have and offer you any help you may need to get through it.

Since I was a kid, I have been equally passionate about writing and teaching. When I was an undergraduate student in India, I only wanted to teach at the university. That was my dream. And I realized it, too, for a while before I moved to Canada. Since I came here, however, I began to focus more on writing and teaching took a backseat. I used to teach at a learning centre part-time, while working as a copywriter, but that was it.

So, after my second kid’s second birthday, when I realized that I had to upgrade myself if I wanted to land a job, I decided to choose a course that helps me nurture my love of teaching, as well. Hence, the course I chose was Adult Teaching/Staff Training. As I said before, I am pursuing an online self-directed course. I am working towards a certificate so I start one course at a time.

The main reason why I like this format is because I can make my own schedule. I need to spend three or four hours during a week to complete weekly activities or assignments and I can choose when I can devote that time to the course. This format helps me work during hours that work for me. I usually go through the course or participate in discussions on weeknights, after the kids have gone to bed, and I work on assignments (usually, that’s once a month) when it’s my husband’s day off. The flexibility is really helpful for someone like me who always has a million items on my to-do list.

Also, since I’m more focussed when I read something on my own and I’m more responsive to the written word, going through the course content at my own pace, on my own time, really works for me. I can always go back when I don’t understand something and take a break when it gets overwhelming. That way, I do not feel discouraged or distracted.

Also, since I’m an introvert, I get a little conscious while participating in face-to-face discussions. In self-directed learning, the discussions are mainly written, so I can gather my thoughts, do my research and post my views in a logical, coherent manner. Of course, I know that in-person discussions would be better for my confidence, but so far, I like being in my comfort zone, without the added pressure of public speaking.

Another advantage of this format is that the flexibility means I can still work on freelance projects or apply for full-time jobs without worrying about completing the course. On top of it all, it also helps me brush up my research skills and academic writing, while also preparing me for a fruitful career in the teaching field. Plus, since I do one course at a time, I keep completing courses on LinkedIn Learning and Google Digital Garage that I wish to add to my resume.

I’m currently looking for options that can provide me the stability of a permanent 9-5 job, while also indulging my love of teaching. Some of the courses that I came across that can help me do that are adult education, instructional design and content creation. If you have come across other fields that writers/teachers can explore, please feel free to comment on this post, or send me a direct message.

In the coming weeks, I will be writing about essay writing, online sources for writing references and citations and courses I have found helpful or interesting. If you’d like to suggest topics that you’d like to see more posts on, please feel free to reach out.

©️Pebble in the Ocean 2021

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