Independent Study

What is independent study?

independent studyIndependent study requires you to be proactive in the process of searching for information and then critically engaging with the information. To be a successful independent learner you will need to take responsibility for setting your own study schedule and prioritising your workload to gain the knowledge needed to achieve your academic goals.

Independent study happens outside of your timetabled ‘contact’ activities (lectures, seminars, tutorials and practicals). It’s the reading and research you undertake when, for example, you’re preparing for a lecture, writing an essay, or taking part in a group activity.

Why is independent study important?

The majority of your time at university will be spent studying independently – so it is important you use your time outside of contact hours wisely. Visit the library, set up independent study groups with your peers, access online resources – gathering different types of information to support your activities / assignments is an essential part of studying at university.

Activity: Qualities of an effective independent learner

From the options below, choose the attributes you believe make an effective independent learner. Once you make the correct choice, your answer will move to the top of the list and stay there –  leaving you with a list containing the most important traits of a person who is adept at independent learning.

Compare these to your own attributes and think about what you might need to work on.

Skills you will gain…

  • Research skills
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem solving
  • Action planning
  • Motivation
  • Time management

Don’t forget…

A good diary – whether you prefer a paper-based diary or a digital diary on your smartphone, this simple tool will help you to plan and organise your independent study

Resources