What is Self- Directed Learning in Medical School?

Students should engage in all of the following components of self-directed learning as a unified sequence:

  1. Identify, analyze, and synthesize information relevant to their learning needs
  2. Assess the credibility of information sources
  3. Share the information with their peers and supervisors
  4. Receive feedback on their information-seeking skills

Source: Liaison Committee on Medical Education Data Collection Instrument: Element 6.3

Why is Self-Directed Learning important?

Self-directed learning experiences and time for independent study allow medical students to develop the crucial skills of lifelong learning. Our students will best care for patients if they have learned how to navigate and use the myriad of resources available to them; optimal patient care requires self-directed learning.

The LCME and Self-Directed Learning (podcast)

Published on May 16, 2014

Dr. Isaac Wood, Senior Associate Dean for Medical Education and Student Affairs and Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics in the School of Medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, presents three types of learning (passive, engaged and self-directed) and describes the LCME’s standards for self-directed learning. (11 mins.)