The UGC Guidelines for Master’s degrees has the following provision: “The students shall be encouraged to study some part of the  syllabus  themselves  and  shall  be  given  assignments,  so  as  to  make  use of the library, laboratory, internet and such otherfaculty.” Self-learning is any study form in which individuals have primary responsibility for planning,implementing, and even evaluating the effort. Most people prefer self-learning to teacher-directed learning. In self-directed learning: 

Individual learners become empowered to take more responsibility for decisions associated with learning

  1. Self-direction creates a continuum of learning
  2. Self-learning can take place in collaboration with others
  3. Self-directed learners are able to transfer learning from one situation toanother
  4. Self-directed learning can effectively be conducted through various activities: self-guided reading,
  5. Participation in study groups, internships, electronic dialogues, and reflective writing
  6. Effective roles for teachers are possible: dialogue with learners, helping with sources and resources, promoting critical thinking and evaluating outcomes.
  7. Innovative programmes may be created/ conducted such as: individualised study options, non-traditional course offerings, open learning programmes, computer-mediated instruction and others.
  8. “Most important of all, self-directed learning works!”

Self-directed learning, in its broadest meaning, describes a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying resources for learning, choosing and implementing learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.

In self-directed learning, learners themselves take the initiative to use resources rather than simply reacting to transmissions from resources, which helps them learn more and in a better way. Lifelong, self- directed learning (SDL) has been identified as an important ability for graduates. It has been shown through many studies worldwide that the self-directed method is better than the teacher centric method of learning.  Teacher directed learning makes learners more dependent and the orientation to learning becomes subject-centred. If a teacher provides the learning material, the student is usually satisfied with the available material, whereas if a student is asked to work on one’s own, he or she invariably has to explore extensive resources on thesubject.