Exemplar Education is all about self-paced learning – allowing the parents and children on our programme to set their own study plan!
What is self-paced learning?
Self-paced learning is defined as ‘a specific learning method, in which the learner is able to control the amount of material they consume as well as the duration of time they need to learn the new information properly’.
The result of the individual’s ability to process the learning material is often referred to as knowledge retention and it’s an increasingly popular way to learn – a 2017 education survey revealed a 135% increase in remote teaching and learning.
Self-paced learning differs from other learning methods because you are in control of what you learn and when you learn it – this can be applied to adults and businesses, but we have found it works incredibly well for young minds!
What are the benefits of self-paced learning?
Self-paced learning can have some surprising benefits!
- It allows pupils to incorporate movement – getting up and moving around when they wish. This can be a real help for children with a shorter attention span, as it gives them the freedom to get up if they wish and have a break from their studies, before starting afresh.
- It enables pupils (and parents!) to become more organised and prepared for learning – after all the onus is on them to succeed, which can also have a beneficial effect on their self-confidence, once they start achieving and realising they CAN do it!
- Self-paced learning (especially with a system like Exemplar Education) means that pupils can complete tasks and generate results more quickly. This allows for more immediate feedback on tasks completed, delivering a sense of self-belief and confidence.
- According to a study published in the Journal of Memory and Language, pacing yourself may also mean retaining more of what is learnt. This research looked at how successful people were at learning while under time constraints, as opposed to when they were able to control their own study time. When learners took advantage of additional time to focus on more difficult items, they performed significantly better than those who had to obey a time limit!
How often should children study?
With Exemplar Education, generally children set aside a couple of hours per week to do their study. However, if they wish to do more they can and we often find once they have started achieving, they naturally want to learn more!
They key thing is to set aside a regular time each week for studying, making sure it does get lost in keeping up with busy family life. Setting study habits early in life can make this a valuable lifelong habit.
Motivating young minds
Self-paced learning works best with the support of parents – so how can you help your children in motivating them and guiding them towards independent learning?
Firstly, always be encouraging and positive when discussing online learning – never refer to it as a chore, or ‘agree’ that it may be ‘boring’ but it needs to be done! Take a real interest in what they are learning and encourage them to chat with you about what they have covered in their last session. Why not set up a comfy ‘learning area’ for them, perhaps with their own desk or a bean bag?
You also could set up a rewards chart for when they have completed a topic or done really well – or simply when you notice they have tried particularly hard to master something they find tricky.
Make sure you keep distractions to a minimum, such as mobile phones and the television. If you have other children, make sure they understand that they need to help their brother or sister by playing quietly in study periods, or maybe even outside or in their bedroom instead.
Another great tip is to work out when your children are most receptive to online learning – some children prefer first thing in the morning, while others like to get started straight after school. Others may prefer to do all their learning at a weekend and keep their evenings free – particularly if they’re tired after school or have other activities.