81% of people believe education is shifting to autodidacticism. That is, more people are becoming self-taught in part or whole. The shift is supported by the way in which the formal system of higher education has declined in popularity. College costs have tripled over the past generation, leading the average to spend 20 years paying off student loans. The cost burden has driven students into housing insecurity and hunger. Society is deciding more and more that the formal system isn’t worth the pain it causes.
With the rise of the internet, options for advanced education are more diverse than ever. The very universities charging high prices for degrees offer free courses online in which anyone can enroll. Aggregate sites like edX and Coursera collect the best courses for users to pursue. Leaving behind the university system entirely, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like LinkedInLearning exist for anyone to enroll in. For those who don’t excel in traditional classroom settings, SkillShare and Codecademy teach via interactive projects, providing education and experience in one.
Advanced education is more accessible than ever before. Now, the main challenge facing aspiring autodidacts is finishing well. Staying on course can be difficult when the learner is the one setting their own pace. Some tips to help stay on track include working in a quiet place, getting an accountability buddy, and most importantly, keeping one’s motivation for learning at the front of one’s mind. 42% of Americans are retraining for work. 31% are upskilling for free online. Whatever an individual’s motivation for continuing their education, they must have the discipline to realize their goals.
As author Isaac Asimov says, “self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.” The best hands to place one’s education in is their own. The internet makes it possible.