Readiness for self-directed learning: validation of a new scale with medical students

Med Teach. 2009 Oct;31(10):918-20. doi: 10.3109/01421590802520899.


Background: Students in higher education are expected to make decisions about the depth and breadth of their study, and so self-direct their learning. Students vary in their willingness or readiness to engage in self-directed learning (SDL).

Aim: This study examines the factorial validity of a new instrument, the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) to measure readiness for SDL in medical students.

Method: Exploratory factor analysis was conducted to determine the factor structure of the SDLRS for a sample of 232 first-year students in a hybrid problem-based learning (PBL) medical programme.

Results: Estimates of internal consistency (Cronbach's alpha) were obtained for extracted factors that were compared with the three-factor structure obtained in a previous study of nursing students. Four factors 'Critical self-evaluation', 'Learning self-efficacy', 'Self-determination' and 'Effective organization for learning' all showed suitable levels of reliability.

Conclusions: A revised 38 item SDLRS is a valid measure of medical students' readiness to direct their own learning in a hybrid PBL programme.

MeSH terms

  • Educational Measurement
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Personal Autonomy
  • Problem-Based Learning
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Self Efficacy
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*