#OTalk Journal Club – 1 April 2014

The transcript of the chat is now available. Read it online or download the PDF

Our April journal club (will be hosted by @merrolee on the topic of self directed learning. The chat will take place at 8pm BST (please check this link for your local time, as our clocks will have changed). Below is a link to the article, and Merrolee’s introduction:

Murad, M.H., Coto-Yglesias, F., Varkey, P., Prokop, L.J. and Murad, A.L. (2010) ‘The Effectiveness of Self-Directed Learning in Health Professions Education: a Systematic Review‘, Medical Education, 44(11), pp. 1057-1068. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2010.03750.x

I have long been interested in the concept of self-directed learning, and this became the focus of my doctoral studies in the last 4 years. While I have now completed my EdD, I still have a Google Scholar search running for self-directed learning, and this article recently caught my eye. Not only was it on my topic of interest, a systematic review, but it was also openly accessible and thus I selected it for this OTalk Journal Club chat.

The value of this article is that it provides a number of challenges for the reader, based on the outcomes of the systematic review (which appears to have been quite rigorous). Firstly, while introducing and using Knowles’ (1975) definition of self-directed learning , the authors also remind the reader that this definition has not necessarily been validated through qualitative/quantitative research. Knowles’ work is heavily cited across educational and health literature, and is often used as the basis for the design of learning experiences. The authors of this study encourage the readers to consider whether this should be the case. I’d be interested to see what others think.

Another point that caught my eye, and relates significantly to the findings of my doctoral study was the support that SDL was more effective when learners were involved in identifying their learning resources. Quite a number of the occupational therapists I interviewed had either not thought about their learning styles when selecting their learning experiences, or did not feel they could justify to their manager why a certain activity should be funded over another related to their learning styles. One of the points I’d like to discuss is awareness of learning styles, and whether people think about this in planning their learning experiences or not?

Finally the last point from this article that bounced out for me, and again fitted with the findings of my study was the suggestion that learning contracts/plans or CPD plans should be developed in consultation with others (for example content experts). How many of us do this, and in what way do we do this, or even do we do this? What skills are needed to be able to accurately self-evaluate, and against what criteria?

I am sure there are other points that will bounce out for others, and I look forward to an interesting chat about what it means and takes to be an effective self-directed learner.

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