What is self-directed learning, and why does it matter at SSoA?

Learning at SSoA is not a passive experience with facts or opinions presented to you to remember. you will be expected to actively engage with your course, your tutors and your peers.

The learning at SSoA is often described as inquiry-based learning, where students are encouraged to question, experiment and reflect on what they are learning. Students quickly get used to this and understand that it makes them independent – they also appreciate that it is a very rewarding education.

Learning is an experience, not a commodity, and this is why we expect you to take responsibility for managing your own work. Students tell us that they feel like they get a lot of support in their learning at SSoA.

What does self-directed learning entail for students at SSoA?


1. Taking responsibility for your own education

Self directed learning does not mean you are left on your own or that you are not guided – quite the reverse. But you are expected to be disciplined, motivated and engaged.

marchbub“If you’re expecting to come to university and have that information handed to you on a plate; it’s not going to happen…” – MArch student

marchbub“I’ve developed my own style and understanding of what I want to do, and what kind of architect I want to be. directing my own path has helped me grow in confidence.” – MArch student


2. Being motivated to pursue lines of enquiry

Most of the assignments you will be given will require thought, research reflection and debate to arrive at an answer. these all take committment.

y1bub“I hadn’t anticipated how much work we were expected to do ourselves… we are expected to go and find things out.” – 1st Year Student

marchbub“Whilst at undergrad you expect to fulfil the brief, at MArch you learn to have more long term goals – it’s much more about driving the process yourself rather than relying on someone else to push you through.” – MArch student


3. Investigating and interrogating ideas

Critical analysis and the gathering of evidence on which to base your ideas is a key part of SSoA courses. this applies for humanities and design as well as technology-based modules.

y23bub“Try anything – don’t be scared. First year is there to experiment – try different things to find where your skill set lies, and what it is you enjoy in architecture.” – 2nd Year student

SSoAbub“Consider your studio work process as research.” – Tutor


4. Self managment and working independently

It may seem daunting to manage your own time and workload, but it is a skill that will develop through the course and it is invaluable to any graduate-level employment.

marchbub“I’ve definitely learnt to use my own initiative to tackle different situations.” – MArch student

marchbub“You should think about what kind of architect you want to be as you’re working on your projects. It’ll help you get an idea of where to apply for work when you graduate, and it’ll help you shape your portfolio to suit your interests.” – MArch student