Factors related to self-directed learning readiness of students in health professional programs: A scoping review
Background Academic and professional drivers have stimulated interest in self-directed learning of students in pre-certification health professional programs. Particular attention has focussed on factors which may influence a students¿ readiness for self-directed learning. Method A five stage structured scoping review of published literature was conducted to identify measures of self-directed learning readiness used with students in pre-certification health professional programs and those factors that have been investigated as potential determinants. Relevant articles were identified in six databases using key search terms and a search strategy. Two independent reviewers used criteria to cull irrelevant sources. Articles which met eligibility criteria were charted. Results The final analysis included 49 articles conducted in nursing, medicine, physiotherapy, pharmacy, occupational therapy and dentistry cohorts. Twenty-one potential determinants had been investigated with gender, year level, age program delivery and previous education level the most common. Self-directed learning readiness has been of interest globally, mostly in medicine and nursing, and studies have nearly exclusively used one of two instruments. Conclusion There is nascent evidence that age, year level and previous education level may have positive influence. These factors have in common the passing of time and may in fact be proxy for more encompassing developmental or social constructs. Further research is needed particularly in the allied health professions where there is limited research in very few disciplines. Studies in interprofessional contexts may be an efficient approach to increasing the knowledge base. Further work is also warranted to determine appropriate use of the two instruments across the range of health disciplines.