Get Started with Self-paced Learning – 6 Benefits and Best Practices

Knock knock!

Who’s there?

It is the 21st century.

21st century who?

It is the 21st century, and you have to change the way you learn new things. While the traditional way of sitting in a classroom was once the only method of instruction, today, things moved remote.

self-paced learning meme

The 21st century brought us a new, jammed life. Everything needs commitment, especially when you are to study a subject. For example, if you are to attend a seminar, you have to clear your schedule to participate in that seminar. 

Instead, why don’t you try self-paced learning? Whether you are interested in it to train new employees or learning at your own pace, this method can be the most beneficial for you in the long run.

What is Self-Paced Learning?

Self-paced learning is a method that enables you to decide how long you will study a subject and the number of materials you will consume. Again, this learning method is quite helpful in our hectic lives. You can choose when to learn, where to learn, and what to learn. This is extremely important for business owners since there is a chance that their employees cannot make it to meetings due to their lives and schedules.

Does Self-Paced Learning Work?

Actually, it does. In our age, we want to control and limit the people who work for us; the chances of them not accomplishing the tasks they have been assigned to are seen high. However, self-paced training has been one of the more efficient ways of training for a couple of years. But, how? What makes self-paced learning work?

1- It is Efficient

In a classroom setting, the general pace of the class is often adjusted to the learning pace of the middle portion. Unfortunately, this excludes people who learn faster and the rest who learn slower.

A self-paced learning method is essential for the ones excluded. The fast learners will not be bored by the slowness of the learning process, while slow learners will not be lost by the pace of the class.

2- It is Effective

According to a study done by Jonathan Tullis and Aaron Benjamin in 2011, subjects who used the self-paced learning method outperformed the ones who did not have any control over the learning method. Even when the study times are equal, the self-paced learners can outperform the others.

This is because self-paced learners devote more time to more challenging materials, whereas others have to devote the same amount of time to every material. Also, self-paced learning can increase the person’s memory if used with the right strategies.

3- It is Convenient

You can learn a new subject according to your schedule. Let’s assume that you have 2 hours of spare time after lunch. If it is a sunny day and you don’t want to limit yourself indoors, you can go to the nearest park and study the material there. There is no time and place limitations for self-paced learning. (Of course, don’t study a topic while driving, you have to pay attention to the road.)

These three reasons are why self-paced learning works quite well. Nevertheless, an employer does not meet some criteria; it cannot work. An employer must create an environment where self-paced learners can meet with their peers and practice with more experienced people in your business. The lack of these two may end up in unfavorable results.

Benefits of self-paced learning

Self-paced learning has benefits both for employers and for employees.

#1 Less Pressure

Being in a classroom setting can be a source of pressure for people due to time constraints. If you are to switch to self-paced learning, you will have less pressure to finish the “assignments,” and you decide at which speed you will learn a subject. This way, no one will ever act as if they understood the subject or followed the instructor.

#2 Set Your own Schedule

We explained this benefit above. The main thing about this is not worrying about your schedule and rushing subjects to finish the task in time.

Tools like Microsoft One Note can help you get more organized when learning at your own pace.

#3 Distraction is not a Problem

If a person is self-disciplined, they will not have an issue with distraction. You will find something to distract you in a classroom setting, or the environment will cause the distraction. However, since a self-paced learner arranges the environment to study, the appearance of a distraction is less likely.

#4 Suitable for Every Style

Each person has a different learning style. Since a person will be all alone while studying, they will decide how they will learn the subject at hand. People using this method are able to find what style will be the better suit for them.

#5 Train More People

Since you are not crowding spaces with people and let them learn new stuff wherever they want, you can train more than usual. The costs of creating the materials will stay the same whether you train 30 or 50 people. This makes self-paced learning, also, inexpensive.

#6 Reusable

The materials you create can be usable again and again. For every new intern or every new employee, you can make your materials accessible. You can also keep your materials up-to-date with the help of your current employees. Once you set up a schedule and create the materials, you can use them for a long time if you keep them up to date.

As you can see, trying a self-paced training method has various benefits that any other method could not provide. Thus, these make self-paced learning a good alternative – may be better – to classroom settings.

Reusability is like a gold characteristic of this learning method since especially remote teams can onboard and adopt new software faster.

How to Get Started with a Self-Paced Learning Program

If you like what you have witnessed so far, maybe it is about time you started a self-paced learning program. Now, you might be wondering how to do so. Well, here are the steps you should pay attention to when creating a self-paced learning program.

1. Personalized Plans

I don’t say you should pinpoint everything according to the person. No, that would be misapplying the self-paced learning method. Instead, you should have a basic outline or a roadmap to show the learning objectives. This way, your employees will not be lost on the subject, and they will have a basic understanding of where to start.

2- Create a Community

People can be stronger together. Creating a good, supportive community is one of the most important things in creating a self-paced learning program. If people have mentors to ask questions about the subject, then they can learn better and easier.

Also, with a community, you can create collaboration activities that can benefit the people who are joining in. People can have meaningful conversations about their experiences and their progress on the topics.

3. Make Materials Accessible

The materials you create have to be accessible to everyone. This encapsulates the variety of platforms – i.e., smartphones or tablets – and the site or the third-party software or no-code tools you are using.

Additionally, organizing explicit instructions on how to access the materials as if everyone is new to the self-paced learning experience is the way to go in this regard.

4. Easy to Read Content

Since some people will not be able to spend as much time as others do, you will have to adjust your style and tone in order for people to understand and digest them better. This encapsulates shorter paragraphs, bullet points, and supplementary images, etc. As long as they do not feel drowned, you are good to go.

Also, your content has to contain a variety. Boredom is an issue while reading or learning. To make them engaged in the material, your material should contain various types of content.

5. Assessment is Crucial

Self-paced learning inherently has no assessment protocol. Sometimes, people might feel like they have learned a topic, but, in fact, they do not excel.  Using assessment tools is an excellent way of showing people their progress. This way, they will know where to pay more attention.

Now, you are good to go! You know what self-paced learning is, and you can apply it everywhere in your life.

Wow! This is one of the longest knock-knock jokes I have ever heard.

Frequently Asked Questions


Why is self-paced learning important?

Self-paced learning is important due to the benefits it brings. It is applicable for almost every person, inexpensive; it causes less pressure, and so on. 


What are the issues of self-paced learning?

The main issue of self-paced learning is self-discipline. People who are a part of a self-paced learning program have to be self-disciplined because no one there is to teach them. Also, materials can be an issue. Materials have to be engaging, brief, and not boring.


What are the factors that make self-paced learning successful?

Three factors make self-paced learning successful. (1) It is efficient because it enables more people to learn a subject without worrying about other people. (2) It is effective due to the time a person spends on a subject they might find challenging. (3) It is convenient since people can learn new things and study subjects according to their schedule.

get-started-with-self-paced-learning

Serhat Erdem

Serhat is the Creative Content Writer of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that 2000+ companies trust in their user onboarding.

Copy link