Self-Directed Learning

About Self-Directed Learning

Self-directed learning (SDL) has been defined as “a process in which individuals take the initiative, with or without the help from others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating goals, identifying human and material resources, choosing and implementing appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes. Loyen et al (2008)

The Royal College’s Framework of Continuing Professional Development Activities adds the following:

“Section 2: Self-learning Activities are planned to address specific needs, enhance awareness of new evidence potentially relevant to practice or enhance the quality of multiple system.”

Planning your Continuing Professional Development activities

- Assess yourself and your practice to identify gaps or problems that you want to address
- Be aware of learning opportunities
- Make choices of learning activities that will keep you up-to-date and support the changes you want to make
- Keep track of what you are doing including the impact of each activity

Evaluate your SDL Needs

In order to identify your goals, the first step is an identification of what is needed. Assessment activities provide data with feedback to individual physicians or groups related to their personal or collective knowledge or performance across a broad range of professional practice domains. This feedback enables the identification of needs and development of future learning opportunities relevant to practice.

Assessment activities:

- Can help you choose the CPD activities most relevant to you
- Contribute to your MOC or Mainpro credits
- May focus on knowledge or clinical performance or other competencies

Examples of assessment activities and sources include:

- Chart or Practice Audit with Feedback
- Multi-source feedback
- Simulation
- Knowledge Tests with Feedback
- Educational/administrative assessments

Suggested resources

  • Loyens, S.M.M., Magda, J. & Rikers, R.M.J.P. Educ Psychol Rev (2008) 20: 411.
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