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Why should educators facilitate autonomy?

Autonomy is the freedom and ability to take control of your own learning process.  There is plenty of research on the topic, and here we present the five most powerful impacts of autonomy in learning: 



Fostering autonomy means that learners can set their own goals and that they have agency over their learning process. If learners can set goals that are personally relevant and steer their learning in a direction that is exciting for them, it creates a sense of ownership. That in turn impacts motivation. Studies consistently show that autonomous learners are more intrinsically motivated and show more engagement in their learning process.  



The process of setting your own goals requires learners to reflect on their aspirations, analyse their strengths and weaknesses, make decisions, develop a strategy to reach their goal and to deal with challenges. All of these are important skills that support learners in all areas of their learning. 



Research consistently shows that autonomous learner show higher levels of academic success. Since auontomous learners are more intrinsically motivated, more engaged, and have more effective learning, they also achieve better grades and reach a deeper understanding of course material. 



The experience of being able to reach a goal that you set yourself greatly contributes to feelings of self-efficacy and confidence. Self-efficacy is connected to wellbeing. According to research, autonomous learners show higher levels of self-efficacy as well as wellbeing. 


The skills that learners can develop through autonomous learning are the basis for lifelong learning. Research shows that autonomous learners are more likely to seek out learning experiences outside of formal education. 

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