Explaining variance in self-directed learning readiness of first year students in health professional programs
Background: Self-directed learning (SDL) is expected of health science graduates; it is thus a learning outcome in many pre-certification programs. Previous research identified age, gender, discipline and prior education as associated with variations in students' self-directed learning readiness (SDLR). Studies in other fields also propose personality as influential. Method: This study investigated relationships between SDLR and age, gender, discipline, previous education, and personality traits. The Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale and the 50-item 'big five' personality trait inventory were administered to 584 first-year undergraduate students (n = 312 female) enrolled in a first-session undergraduate interprofessional health sciences subject. Results: Students were from health promotion, health services management, therapeutic recreation, sports and exercise science, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, and podiatry. Four hundred and seven responses (n = 230 females) were complete. SDLR was significantly higher in females and students in occupational therapy and physiotherapy. SDLR increased with age and higher levels of previous education. It was also significantly associated with 'big five' personality trait scores. Regression analysis revealed 52.9% of variance was accounted for by personality factors, discipline and prior experience of tertiary education. Conclusion: Demographic, discipline and personality factors are associated with SDLR in the first year of study. Teachers need to be alert to individual student variation in SDLR.
Slater, C. E., Cusick, A. & Louie, J. C. Y. (2017). Explaining variance in self-directed learning readiness of first year students in health professional programs. BMC Medical Education, 17 (1), 207-1-207-10.