DIY Learning – is it teaching me anything?


Recently I decided that I wanted to start studying again…. what so after 5 years with children working part time, being part of a board of management and running a household I didn’t have enough to do right? Wrong, I decided I wanted more for myself in the future and casually enrolled myself in the beginning of what I hope will one day put an MBA after my name.

The trouble is, you have to read, read, read. Don’t get me wrong I LOVE reading, there is nothing more relaxing than sitting down and immersing yourself in a really interesting book. But when does one have time to do this? At night I hear you say, before you go to bed? Yes, I too am a serial bed reader, sitting up many a late night with my trusty iPad (e-reader for some) and reading until I can’t stay awake anymore. In fact, when I started my course, I thought to myself “uh, this will be fine, I’ll do the reading at night and activities during the day”.

Has anyone ever tried to read a financial journal at midnight? Even at 10pm? The first subject in my return to studies is Financial Management 101. For those with a solid accounting or financial background this subject would most likely be a breeze, even enjoyable, I on the other hand am a self-taught finance director of a small privately owned business, and know didley squat about accounting or public companies, so financial articles tend to make me a bit sleepy because I don’t understand the subject well enough. It makes it hard to stay awake!

The course features well over 650 pages (plus the text book) of reading over a 12 week period. Whilst any person might say “that’s easy!” I am here to tell you, not so my friend. I constantly find myself falling asleep while trying to read the course material at night, I was beginning to think that maybe this course is way above my head, maybe I just can’t do it…… maybe I should re-think my goal here and aim a little lower?

For anyone that knows me well enough, you’d know that I am determined and stubborn, and rarely claim defeat. And so when I was on the brink of giving up on my studies, I thought I can’t just give up – what would I do if I was at work – I’d find a solution, another way, the best way to make it work for me. I realised, if this DIY learning is not teaching me anything except failure, then it needs to change. I also realised the school I am utilising (who shall remain nameless) should be doing a lot more to support it’s DIY (online) students. They put everything on you to organise, team collaboration, sourcing information, reading the text and provided materials, there is really not much else. OK so there is an e-community we can log into and ask questions – the few times I have done this the responses have been so complex they have not really helped.

I thought with the technology available these days the teacher could prepare some online video content discussing some of the more difficult subjects at least allowing us to hear the information in lamens terms. Combined with reading the jargon-filled text and journals provided this might give us better tools to learn with.

I am not a qualified teacher, so how can I expect myself to teach myself and for my busy brain to retain so much information through reading alone? I can’t. So what do I have? I have the technology to enable online learning, I have some gadgets to enable learning on the go, I have a little bit of time to spare so all I need now is the right teacher and teaching method, and hopefully I’ll do better than just a pass….. time to go back to the trusty old classroom!

I have my FM-101 exam in 2 weeks so we’ll see how I go DIY style – then I’ll compare to a classroom method next semester!



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