I would like to know details about how one self studies entire courses or new areas of research post graduation? For example, I am an experimentalist with little exposure to numerical analysis (finite volume or element methods) and would like to develop sound understanding of the subject so as to expand my research area. I intend to start with variational calculus, matrix algebra, numerical methods for integration/differentiation from textbooks.
However, I am curious, how does one self study effectively without assignments/exams which is typical of any structured coursework in academic setting? Do you solve all the problems in a book? Solve selected once? Search for online courses and attempt their assignments and questions? Do you also cover the entire books or just the topics you are interested in pursuing during future research?
Also, am curious, as an academic, how often do you have to learn a new course or subject through self-study to progress your research skills or career?
Any suggestions or advice would be most helpful!