Dependent and Independent learners

Posted by sazali


Good Morning.  How is Malaysia?

We all learn something new everyday.  Is that right?  Similarly the students in any higher institutions like the universities on this earth.  Today I am going to write/ describe some important characteristics of  dependent and  independent learners.

Dependent comes from the word ‘depend on’.  It means one is relying on somebody else to acquire some form of knowledge and skills.  That somebody could be the teacher, tutor or lecturer who has taught a topic majoring in mathematics, physics, chemistry, history etc etc.  Some of these learners depend on the teacher in one way or another.  Firstly, he depends on the mathematics  lecturer to give him a talk on a topic called SETS, FUNCTIONS AND SEQUENCE. This comes in the form of 100% dependence.  Secondly, in order to know more about that topic, subtopic the lecturer will give him some sort of assignment , projects or journal writings within a stipulated time.  This is where as teachers/ lecturers we can know how many of them can survive doing the work by themselves , peers help or they come directly to our office  for some guidance.

Independent learners come from the word ‘independent’.  A student in this category  would like to explore something for themselves first before they consult their peers or tutors/lecturers. His exploration will start by googling something on the internet, refer to books in the library or he can ask his many seniors around him 24/7.  Some exploration creates some degree of excitement , more deeper kind of knowledge and of course finally their own satisfaction as a learner.  He will try not to consult his tutor or lecturer at all.  When the due date comes, he just submitted his assignment which he has done by himself.  Gee!

There are few advantages being a dependent learner.  One of them is there is a big possibility that his assignment will be 100% correct because he was guided by his tutor/ lecturer before the due date.  The most glaring disadvantage is he never learn to be committed doing something on his own.  Even though he scored high marks he always need somebody to coach him/ her all the time.  If the lecturer gives him 4 questions then there is a possibility he will approach the lecturer 4 times throughout the week (Mohd Sazali, 2010).  Bravo!  As such, he has very little confidence in creating something new out of his thinking and originality.  During work environment, he will show some signs of anxiety and lacking confidence since his lecturers are not there any more.  Every task seems so big a mountain to climb.

The biggest disadvantage of an independent learner is may be he could score very  low marks because in mathematics , each problem could be either correct or wrong.  But by being brave and confidence through out his study in the university  , this type of learner could be the future entrepreneurs  like Steve Jobs, owners of KFC and McD in America.  For your information , Steve Jobs never complete his degree because of his niche to explore something  but his contribution in building up the Apple  to the entire world was absolutely fantastic.     Independent learners are brave and they can take many forms of failure.  They are the followers of ‘dare to fail’ type.  In short RED Warriors from Kelantan FC,Malaysia!

Unfortunately, in most parts of the world,  the university honors dependent  high degree(s) during the convocation day and they talk less about those who failed in spite of them being an independent learners through out their stay in the university.  The world will look up suddenly to them  if these so called ‘dare to fail’ regiment strike something great in technology / invention/ news like the wonders of  tongkat aleeeee  while the high degree holders will stay in the office 24/7 giving lectures from day 1 to day ‘nth’ and  taking fixed wages as their culture through out their life high and nay.  To play safe at this current I.T generation , we must play the role of both independent and dependent learners at all times.  This is because, the world cannot afford to create 8 to 5 pm jobs any more.  Many jobs are going online.  Please see the bank industries.  Many mundane jobs in the electronic field are being cut daily .  In fact, the world is embracing inventors and entrepreneurs who turn billionaires before they die (laugh). And of course few of these inventors and great footballers like George Best, Dali Omar and Socrates who had entertained world  football fans and  went to the other world with big , bigger and biggest degree(s).  See?


Kawasaki, B. (2000). "Rich Dad Poor Dad".  Japan: XXY
Mahathir Muhammad(2010).  " Doctor in the house".  Kuala Lumpur:  MPH
Mohd Sazali Khalid (2010).  The effect of collaborative computer aided learning on learning pre algebra among polytechnic students.  Unpublished PhD. Thesis.  Parit Raja:  University Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia


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