It’s not always necessary or desirable to follow a formal programme of instruction or education. There is much that a self-directed approach to learning offers.

  • Beyond a certain level the utility of adding to an existing portfolio of professional credentials or qualifications may be subject to diminishing returns.That is not to say that further study is futile. On the contrary taking a proactive approach to professional and skills development is very important.

  • Formal qualifications certainly have their value for most knowledge workers, primarily in providing a scaffold on which to build domain-specific knowledge or more practically meet or exceed the minimum standards necessary to acquire suitable employment.

  • Understanding gained through hard-won experience and self-directed learning can be just as valuable as any professional qualification.

  • Formal qualifications gained early in someone’s career or even before it started can become obsolete quickly, and in some cases actually harm the individual by providing a false sense of security. In many cases a 20 year old university degree won’t prove adequate to facilitate a flourishing or future-proof career.

  • In demand skills change with time and so do the interests and aptitude of individuals. Self-directed study provides an opportunity to plug gaps in knowledge and expertise.

  • On this basis a self-reliant attitude to the acquisition of skills and knowledge is sensible. Being independent of the formal education system saves time and money and facilitates a flexible approach to learning that will suit the interests and temperament of the individual.

  • Autodidactic “pick ’n mix” approaches can provide tailored and high quality learning, particularly with internationally respected institutions now making available some high quality content available online for free. This makes possible studying the topics which interest you at your own pace and largely independently of artificial deadlines and gatekeepers.