Autodidact Curriculum, Syllabus & Schedule
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
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
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
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
- 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
- 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
"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:
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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
Reading Techniques |
Learning by Writing |
Benefits of Learning History