Autodidact Curriculum, Syllabus & Schedule

Design Rules




An autodidactic curriculum should include courses different from those used in formal education, because of the difference in learning environment, tools, motivation, and experience:

  • More technology courses to learn how to find knowledge for oneself. The autodidact should be hi-tech, since there are no teachers to get advice or immediate answers from, or students to share opinion and exchange information with. The autodidact of today is the typical student of tomorrow, who will learn on their own by technology as their main teacher.
  • More social science or experience to make up for lack of contact with other students and teachers, to avoid developing self-biased knowledge. The autodidact learns out of "need and desire" for learning, while students at school are motivated to learn by "sympathy and jealousy" as well. Although the latter are weaker motives, they fairly grow a sense of cooperation and competition, respectively, in the students. However, social sciences can help the autodidact get a better picture of the relationship between society's members and possible cooperation between them, with no need for social instincts, e.g. sympathy or jealousy, flawing such picture.
  • Different learning tools for empirical knowledge to complete theoretical knowledge. Some sciences particularly need learning in practice, using tools the autodidact may not have: laboratory apparatus, material for physical projects, doing surveys, visiting locations, etc. For such sciences, the autodidact can have his/her own learning tools that should be safe, economical, practical, and private, to use at the right place and time, with the right people, if any. Or, one may borrow or rent such tools.
  • More fiction or real life stories to visualize all the contexts one cannot be physically present in and the experiments one cannot do. This includes a selection of fiction, multimedia and virtual reality programs carefully chosen to simulate reality and play the role of the unavailable knowledge. Whether a story, audiovisual medium or interactive game, it should be clearly goal-oriented, not merely for entertainment or mind stimulation (else it wastes time, especially for the autodidact who studies under no pressure).
  • More courses on science development (present trends, history & future), to make up for the lack of contact with academia and the scientific community.
  • A fixed course in abstract sciences to make up for the lack of guidance by teachers: logic, math and other books developing scientific thinking skills. More time should be devoted also to the abstract part any science has: its laws, theories, and guidelines of its study.
  • More applied science, self-help and do-it-yourself courses, related to one's immediate environment and personal needs and dealing with contexts the autodidact only encounters, which the autodidact is more aware of and focusing on, than formal students or "group learners" are. Traditional curricula are unfortunately designed for eclectic one-size-fits-all learning, at the expense of individual differences.
  • Less core/basic science, which will be automatically understood from applied science courses. No need to use/adopt college curricula as such, where many unnecessary parts can be excluded. However, this is the knowledge field people expect you to know most about. With abundant resources everywhere, anyone can kow anything, that one must SPECIALIZE in certain things.



Knowledge is four stages one should go through to make the best of it. Any curriculum, syllabus or schedule should include those stages:

  • Perceiving reality: observing the world, visiting a location, hearing a story, and, of course, facing a problem.
  • Re-creating reality: remembering what has been seen, and imagining it differently by mixing it with other stored images.
  • Conceiving/Understanding reality: analyzing it with the right scientific tools, to put each image/puzzle-piece in place.
  • Changing reality: re-facing the world and changing it, making the new knowledge fit into the physical world.

The time schedule divided between the above stages differs from a person/time/place to another.

Additional time should freely be spent on developing motivation for learning along with learning itself, whenever the need arises, as one completes the other (like "momentum & motion"). However, the above stages automatically grow such motivation if followed correctly.

* * *

For the average learner, the study hours are roughly divided as follows:

  1. Perception (30%)
    • Perception is passive interaction, achieved in education by free readings (in or out of curriculum), experiments and self-assignments, for observation's sake only, recording data that is to be refined later, rather than assessing such data or making an early judgment. Those intellectual activities should make about 20% of the curriculum. They create learning motivation and prepare the mind for the next stages.
    • Science development (history, present trends & future studies): 10%. This is needed for orientation: to acquaint oneself with what's happening, happened, and will happen in the development of science, thus one knows what to focus on, without getting lost in the realm of science.
  2. Imagination (20%)
    • Science fiction: needed for better illustration of science and increasing learning motivation. One cannot perceive the whole world physically; one uses imagination to make up. Fiction can combine benefits of learning language and history as well, depending on fiction genre.
  3. Understanding (50%)
    • Basic science. 30% for any level (primary, intermediate & advanced), devoted to one science, in advanced courses, or divided among many (a selection of different sciences), in primary courses. Learned in theory or practice, this should eventually be one's area of expertise, where one majors at least in one subject not many people know about. Whether other people can't or wouldn't learn it, for doing a small or big job, the result is the same: someone has to learn and do the job, and do it right. This is the field of study that enables a person to find their niche in society. Be it cooking or astrophysics, a hobby or profession, it's their tool to change the world with and make it a better place.
    • Abstract science: language, math & logic, as separate courses, and as part of the science course itself, taking 20% of the syllabus for all levels, to master basic terminology and arguing skills within that science. This percentage should stay the same for everyone, as such skills require regular maintenance and constant practice. (The percentage is higher for a linguist, mathematician, logician, or science theoretician, because it is a basic science/profession to them).
  4. Interaction (0% - 100%)
    • Applied science, self-help, practical courses, assignments, presentations, projects, etc.: NO specific time, i.e. whatever a subject needs to be understood, and whenever a problem arises, taking whatever time to be solved. This stage is inseparable from the others above; it should be gone through "simultaneously or alternatively" for best understanding. Any knowledge is useless if not used to change life with—if it's inapplicable.


Autodidact vs. College        |       Books for Autodidacts

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