Autodidacticism or self-education is education without the guidance of masters (such as teachers and professors) or institutions (such as schools). Generally, an autodidact is an individual who chooses the subject they will study, their studying material, and the studying rhythm and time.

An autodidact may or may not have formal education, and their study may be either a complement or an alternative to it. Many notable literary and scientific contributions have been made by autodidacts. Multiple influential figures, such as Henry Ford, Ray Bradbury, the Wright Brothers, Mies Van Der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Violet-Le-Duc, and Tadao Ando were self-taught.

Several studies show these programs function most effectively when the "teacher" or facilitator is a full owner of virtual space to encourage a broad range of experiences to come together in an online format. This allows self-directed learning to encompass both a chosen path of information inquiry, self-regulation methods and reflective discussion among experts as well as novices in a given area.

Furthermore, massive open online courses (MOOCs) make autodidacticism easier and thus more common. A 2016 'Stack Overflow' poll reported that due to the rise of autodidacticism, 69.1% of software developers appear to be self-taught.

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