Graduate-entry medical students' self-directed learning capabilities in a problem-based curriculum

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To explore junior and senior students' perceptions of their self-directed learning (SDL) capabilities in an innovative graduate-entry medical program and to determine the construct reliability of the survey instrument utilized. Methods: A cross-sectional survey design in which a self-report questionnaire was administered to undergraduate medical students (n=43) of King Saud bin Abdul Aziz University for Health Sciences, Riyadh in October 2008 and March 2009; soon after entry and in their year 3 of an integrated problem-based learning (PBL) program. The questionnaire sought self-assessment on 14 SDL capabilities. Results: Questionnaire construct reliability was high (Cronbach's alpha=0.945). Respondents had medium to high perceptions of their self-directed learning capabilities in areas that are among the main building-blocks of self-directed learning. In comparison to junior students, senior students had statistically significantly higher mean scores on 11 of 14 self-assessed SDL competencies (p<0.05). Conclusions: Consistent with other studies of SDL in a graduate-entry PBL curriculum, most students perceived themselves as having moderate to high SDL capabilities. Knowledge of learners' perceived levels of self-directedness is helpful for both students and medical educators. By understanding learners' conceptions of their self-directed learning capabilities we can design evidence-based program modifications that are likely to promote intended curriculum objectives. Longitudinal studies are needed observing the application and stability of perceived capabilities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1224
Number of pages6
JournalSaudi Medical Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2009
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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