Publication Details

Thomas, L., Bennett, S. & Lockyer, L. (2016). Using concept maps and goal-setting to support the development of self-regulated learning in a problem-based learning curriculum. Medical Teacher, 38 (9), 930-935.


Problem-based learning (PBL) in medical education focuses on preparing independent learners for continuing, self-directed, professional development beyond the classroom. Skills in self-regulated learning (SRL) are important for success in PBL and ongoing professional practice. However, the development of SRL skills is often left to chance. This study presents the investigated outcomes for students when support for the development of SRL was embedded in a PBL medical curriculum. This investigation involved design, delivery and testing of SRL support, embedded into the first phase of a four-year, graduate-entry MBBS degree. The intervention included concept mapping and goal-setting activities through iterative processes of planning, monitoring and reflecting on learning. A mixed-methods approach was used to collect data from seven students to develop case studies of engagement with, and outcomes from, the SRL support. The findings indicate that students who actively engaged with support for SRL demonstrated increases in cognitive and metacognitive functioning. Students also reported a greater sense of confidence in and control over their approaches to learning in PBL. This study advances understanding about how the development of SRL can be integrated into PBL.



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