Welcome to The Art of Self Education

by Race Bannon on May 17, 2009

All education is self education. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a learner. By that I mean someone for whom learning is actually interesting and enjoyable. And as a learner, you likely already know instinctively that all education is ultimately self education.

If education has thus far not been an interesting and enjoyable experience for you, you’re probably hoping that reading this blog will make it so. Perhaps it will. That is my hope.

So what do I mean by self education and why do I view it as an art?

Self education is learning that you undertake self-guided or with the bulk of the educational process of your own design and execution. You might be motivated to self educate by an external force such as your boss assigning you a learning task relevant to your work, but if the process is more or less one that you create, then I consider it truly self education.

Art versus science – the dilemma is obvious and the answer is not black or white. Siding on the side of art, I contend that the complexities of the educational process plus the uniqueness of each individual learner plus the clear gap between what we can and can’t prove about how people learn best add up to what I think is a strong argument that it’s an art, or at least a science with strong artistic leanings.

This blog is one man’s perspective (mine) about self education and how it can best be approached and achieved. I’ve pursued self education all my life. Most of what I’ve learned in life I’ve learned on my own. I’ve managed the learning function in many business and corporate settings. And I’ve done a lot of research on how we best learn when the course of our education is left to our own needs, interests and life paths. The topic of self education is one that’s near and dear to my heart.

My father instilled in me a love of learning and coached me into becoming an excellent self educator. The first images I remember of me and my father are reading a book together. He read to me until I picked up my first book myself and attempted to make sense of the scribbling on the page. I was hooked.

My love of reading led to a love of learning in general and my father’s gift has served me well. Applying what I learned and adding my own acquired self education skills and experience over the years has produced knowledge and a skill set that, while still growing, has proven the great differentiator in my life.

You want a better life. You want a better career. You want to succeed in whatever you do. You want to be happy and alive. Learning is the answer. To be more specific, the ability to self educate (learn) with little or no outside guidance will propel anyone to a better place in life. All success is ultimately tied to learning. Whether you want career success, to excel at a hobby, or to find out how to best wash your laundry, learning is at the core of the keys to success.

College and university educations can be excellent. Without a doubt they are a viable way to pursue an education. The trend has been up for the last few years for the percentage of high school students enrolling in college. Lots of them aren’t graduating. And that number is growing too.

Mark Penn and E. Kinney Zalesne point out in their excellent book Microtrends: The Small Forces Behind Tomorrow’s Big Changes that while freshman college enrollments are up, the percentage of people who actually graduate from college has remained about the same. This means an increasing percentage of those who start college don’t complete their degree.

Under these circumstances, self education presents itself as an even more compelling skill set to foster and embrace.

Offered on this blog will be a combination of my personal perspective and experience, solid research and insights gathered from others. If in any way this blog helps you in your pursuit of self education, I will consider it a monumental success.

Throughout this blog I have chosen to use the terms “self education” and “self educated” without the traditional hyphenated format. Some may find the deviation from grammatical convention problematic, but as I wrote the term over and over I found the hyphenated form too heavy looking and cumbersome. For you grammar police out there, I hope you’ll forgive me.

Please visit this blog often. And I’m always interested in hearing from my readers. So if you have any comments or suggestions pertaining to this blog, please send me a message.

Have a great day!

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