Are You a Self-Directed Learner?

Do you have what it takes to succeed in our self-directed courses? Keep reading to find out!

One of the greatest reasons to take courses online through Ontario Virtual School is that you become the director of your own learning! Of course, for someone who struggles with self-direction, this could also be viewed as a great challenge. If you’re not sure how well you’ll fare as captain of your own ship, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 qualities self-directed learners typically possess. See how you measure up!


A successful OVS student is someone who:

  1. Takes initiative

This is undoubtedly the #1 key to being classified as a self-directed learner! If you want to be successful with online independent learning, you’re going to have to be able to motivate yourself to get the work done. If you tend to wait around for someone else to say “get to it!”, online learning might present some problems (unless you have someone in your circle who is willing to push you to get things done).

  1. Is goal-oriented

Whether or not you consciously set goals for yourself, achieving success in online courses requires you to, at the very least, be goal-oriented. That is, you must be able to develop a plan for completing the required work and be disciplined enough to stick to it.

  1. Is self-aware

Setting an appropriate working pace for yourself is another primary key to success with online learning. If you don’t give yourself enough time to learn the material, you are setting yourself up to achieve sub-par results. Successful self-directed learners recognize their own strengths and weaknesses and are able to set an appropriate pace based on their personal learning style and habits.

  1. Is dedicated

Learning takes time, repetition and practice. To be a successful self-directed learner, you must be willing to put in the time and energy it takes to learn the course material, and learn it well.

  1. Is self-confident

In order to be successful with independent learning, you have to believe in yourself and your ability to achieve your goals. With online learning, there won’t always be someone encouraging you and reassuring you that ‘you can do it’ – so you must be confident in your own abilities, without the need for constant reassurance from third parties.

  1. Has strong time management skills

Working at your own pace can certainly have its advantages, but at the end of the day, you have to know how to manage your time effectively to work through the course content in the time you are given.

  1. Views problems as challenges, not obstacles

The successful self-directed learner is not easily discouraged when faced with a challenge. Instead, they embrace a growth mindset, viewing difficult problems as vehicles for greater learning.

  1. Is capable of self-discipline

Even if you happen to enjoy the course content, taking an online course and being successful in it is going to take some discipline. Good self-directed learners know (or learn!) how to develop and maintain the discipline they need to stay on track.

  1. Knows when to ask for help

Being a self-directed learner doesn’t mean you must know or determine all the answers on your own. In fact, the successful online learner is most often the one who reaches out, when necessary, to receive the guidance they need to carry on through the material. If you’re stuck and need help, ask for it! Our dedicated instructors are there to help you when you need it.

  1. Has an underlying desire to learn

The successful self-directed learner must want to learn. If you view learning negatively, you’ll be more likely to procrastinate and under-achieve. Even if the primary motivation is mark-driven, successful online learners must view learning as part of a positive path forward.