What is Self-directed Education?

Children are biologically driven to self-educate through curiosity, playfulness, sociability and a general desire to do well in life. Self-directed education (SDE) occurs when these natural drives are allowed to flourish. 

When children are granted the freedom and opportunity to educate themselves, outside of the boundaries of traditional school, they generally do so whole heartedly. The more control they have over what, how, where, why and with whom they learn, the deeper the learning!  Check out this brief video What is self-directed education? to know more.

Benefits of Self-Directed Education

Self-directed education promotes the natural development of self-confidence, initiative, creativity, perseverance and overall life satisfaction. Learning occurs at a deeper level through SDE, and retention of the material learned is proven to be high. 

Adults at self-directed learning schools are mentors rather than teachers, which helps foster relationships based on mutual respect, all the while boosting self-esteem for students. 

Another significant benefit is that the absence of disciplinary systems, compulsory lessons, restricted curriculum and standardised testing, allows for the mental health and well being of students to be protected and nurtured by the school community.

what about college?

There are a number of ways to enter into third level education in Ireland. Students can be supported to register and study for the Leaving Certificate, or A Level Exams can be taken online. 

Open University is another online platform that self-directed learners can avail of. 

Alternatively, students can be supported to apply for a PLC course or  QQI level 5, which do not require CAO exam points but can act as a pathway into university. 

Other courses may select applicants via portfolio or interview and students can be guided in their preparation for . 

evidence base for self-directed education

Self-directed education is an approach grounded in rigorous evidence based research from multiple disciplines such as biology, anthropology, cognitive science, psychology and child development. 

Explore the substantial scientific basis for self-directed learning here or why not check out our library section.