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Academic Culture - Independent Learning

What is independent learning?

Independent learning means taking charge of your own learning, organising your time to use it in the most effective way. If you are used to being told what to study, having your time scheduled for you and having someone check that you are doing what you are supposed to be doing, you might find this new system difficult to adjust to. You will need to start making choices about when and what you study and learn to prioritise your work so that you meet your deadlines. It means thinking critically about what you are learning, understanding it and asking questions about it rather than memorising or learning off material to repeat in exams.

Independent learning does not mean that you have to learn on your own. You can take charge of your learning by deciding to study with a study group or with another student. It also means being aware of when you need help and seeking it appropriately.

Why is it important?

Skills such as time management, organisation, prioritising, critical thinking, reading strategies and effective writing are all skills that are valued by employers. By developing these skills now, you are developing very useful work related skills which will ultimately help you during and after university.

Where can I find resources?

SLD run workshops on various academic skills during the year - keep an eye on your inbox for emails about upcoming workshops and events. All of our resources are also available on Blackboard module 'Academic Skills for Successful Learning' or check out our website:

Even if you find it difficult to be an independent learner, just remember, you can learn these skills and you will get better the more you practise.