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Written by Dr. Dee

March 12, 2020

Are you an independent worker?


It may seem odd to be thinking about working independently in the online learning environment when there has been so much focus placed on teamwork and collaboration, but you really cannot make great team contributions without having individual independent traits.  Let’s pull it all apart!

So, what are some things that show independence?

  • Knowing what needs to be done and taking initiative without having to be told.
  • Completing what needs to be done until the end to the best of your ability.
  • Taking ownership of your mistakes without out making excuses and refusing to let negativity take you off course.
  • Having the ability to problem solve and help others.
  • Being self-aware, self-motivated, and self-regulated

Things you can do to help develop independent initiative skills.

  • Plan, research, and read – You need to take the time to know what needs to be done before you start.  Create a schedule, review all objectives thoroughly, and ask questions from the beginning of the assignment or project so that you know what you need to complete and what might lie ahead.  Doing this will help you to complete the tasks on time.
  • Have a positive mindset – What do I do?  I am the type of person that analyzes every situation and picks out the positives, leaving the negatives behind, especially if they cannot be changed (also known as self-talk).  Others choose meditation to help with positive thinking.  Here is more information pertaining how you can rewire your brain to get rid of the negativity.  Being positive will build your self-confidence and you will find that people will be attracted to you.
  • Be able to spot opportunities for improvement – Being able to self-reflect on your learning tasks on a regular basis will help you see areas of improvement and allow you to make those changes in the future.  I’m a firm believer that we learn from our mistakes.  If your instructor gives you the option to revise your work, you should take that opportunity not only to raise your grade but to learn.
  • Be persistentNever give up!  We all have setbacks.  If something has happened either personally, professionally, or academically reach out to your academic advisor or instructor.  You always need to communicate!  Having support and discussing situations will help you to get past whatever it is blocking your way to success.
  • Have balance – Balancing work, school, and your personal life is imperative.  Have you ever heard “too much of one thing is good for nothing”?  Well, it’s true.  You need to make sure that you dedicate the appropriate time to each activity.  If you have too much going on personally, you might have to put your academics on hold.  The worst think you can do is try to take classes if you are going through a detrimental life event – you most likely will not be successful.  Lastly, take time for yourself.  You are only good to others if you are good to yourself!

Independent people are the ones that get things done.  They are leaders.  They act instead of reacting.  They make things happen and are highly valued.  You need to have these types of traits to be successful in the online learning environment.  Remember, most of the time you will be learning on your own without immediate help, so adapting some of these skills is necessary.


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