The Autodidactic Apprenticeship

You know the old saying, “When the student is ready, the master will appear”? Well, sometimes the student is ready and the master is nowhere to be found. What’s a curious mind to do?

The determined curious mind will turn autodidactic, searching out the necessary resources to teach herself. Once upon a time, the autodidact could be found in a library or bookstore reading relevant books and periodicals. Today’s autodidact has a lot more resources at her fingertips. A book can lead to a video tutorial that leads to an expert’s Twitter that leads to the expert’s blog and a forum between others with similar, if not identical, interests.

When a community of like-minded people find each other, something kind of cool happens. One person will share their work, receive expert and peer advice, and improve and polish their work. Someone else may create a tutorial showing off a new way to do an old skill. Each member of the community still pursues her own learning through her own projects and research while learning from more experienced community members while serving as the knowledgeable expert for less experienced community members. It’s a cycle that benefits everyone involved.

Community members demonstrate their knowledge and mastery through their own creations and sharing their processes. And they grow their self-esteem through these teaching and demonstration opportunities.It makes for a complete learning cycle, and leads to a stronger community around a given skill.

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4 thoughts on “The Autodidactic Apprenticeship

  1. I really appreciate this article, I’ve been seeking community for autodidactism myself because my major offers too much fluff. There are things I want to understand about the world around me and employ in my life to increase my love of learning; I don’t always want to view everything as a return on investment, rather something that I can fall in love with through rigor. Hopefully, I can find a community of autodidacts pretty soon.

  2. What I have found useful over the years is to find communities of practice (online or offline) related to my work, and then try them on until I find one I like. It’s not foolproof, but it is a learning experience in itself.

    Good luck!

  3. Pingback: The Process of Demonstrating | Genius in Transition

  4. Pingback: The Kids Don’t Want to Learn | Genius in Transition

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