• 1 Universiti Teknologi MARA
Medical Health Reviews, 2008;2008(1):81-95.


With the introduction of problem-based learning (PBL) in medical and health professionals’ undergraduate courses, self-directed learning (also known as self-regulated learning) becomes an integral component of the learning process. There may be slight variations in how educators and students perceive self-directed learnin .However, self-directed learning provides an opportunity for collaborative discussion of the new information collected and allows learners to construct new knowledge as they address their learning issues. Therefore, self-directed learning is not just about researching for new knowledge or finding answers for questions; self-directed learning is about developing competencies, skills and attitudes that foster the learning processes. Interestingly, not all learners will be able to adapt this approach of learning once they enroll in a PBL course. The process will develop gradually and require a number of actions from the learner, including: (i) Realising the need to change their learning style to suite the needs of the medical curriculum, (ii) constructing a plan that accommodates the new learning objectives, (iii) Practicing self-directed learning and sharing their experiences with peers, and (iv) Continuing evaluation of their self-directed learning approach and improving their learning style. Therefore, the aims of this manuscript are: (i) discuss the meaning of self-directed learning in the context of PBL, and review the research outcomes in this area, (ii) understand the different factors that may affect student’s self-directed learning strategies, and (iii) briefly explore the meaning of construction of knowledge and how it can enforce students’ self-directed learning, integration of knowledge and deeper understanding of topics learnt.