Knowledge and practices regarding self-directed learning among undergraduates from a medical college in Kerala

Suba Joice Yesubakthan, Blessed S. Sargunam, Judith Rajendran, Beena I. Bhasy


Background: Medical education for undergraduates is a challenging area and medical professionals are life-long learners. Self-directed learning (SDL) is adult learning process. SDL describes a process where individuals take initiative, with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying human and material resources for learning, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes. This study assessed knowledge and practices regarding SDL among medical undergraduates and looked for association between gender and year of study with knowledge and practices of different components of SDL.  

Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted among 192 students doing final year and internship at Dr. Somervell Memorial CSI Medical College, Kerala from April to July 2018 after obtaining clearance from Institutional ethics committee. Data was collected using a predesigned and pretested structured self-administered questionnaire on socio demographic profile, knowledge, practices, barriers and opportunities regarding SDL. Data was entered in excel sheet and analyzed using SPSS trial version 21.0.  

Results: Majority of the students had good knowledge regarding the components of SDL and practiced components like identifying their learning needs, objectives, commitment and implementation of the learning process. Only 57.3% students evaluated learning process and 31.8% alone had an educator as facilitator. Important barriers identified were self-motivation (88%) followed by time (81.8%).  

Conclusions: Interns had better knowledge and practice of SDL components compared to final year students. Though females had a better knowledge and practice of SDL components compared to males it was not statistically significant.


Self-directed learning, Medical colleges, Kerala, Medical education

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