Self-directed learning: looking at outcomes with medical students

Fam Med. 2002 Mar;34(3):197-200.


Background and objectives: Self-directed learning (SDL) skills are thought to be associated with lifelong learning. This study assessed the degree of readiness for SDL in third-year medical students who participated in a problem-based learning (PBL) curriculum during thefirst 2 years of medical school.

Methods: A total of 182 third-year medical students at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston were given the Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS).

Results: The observed mean (235.81 [range 183-284]) for the combined group was significantly higher than the mean reported for general adult learners (214), though slightly lower than scores reported in studies of other medical students and professionals. Ratings of students by clinical preceptors correlated with SDLRS scores.

Conclusions: Students in our integrated medical curriculum had scores on the SDLRS that correlated with clinical performance and probably represented a readiness for SDL.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Clinical Competence
  • Curriculum
  • Educational Measurement
  • Humans
  • Models, Educational*
  • Program Evaluation*
  • Programmed Instructions as Topic*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Texas