Self-Directed Learning: Faculty and Student Perceptions
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This article reports the results of a qualitative study that explored faculty and student perceptions of self-directed learning (SDL) and investigated factors that facilitate or impede it. This study was conducted at McMaster University with faculty and students in a 4-year undergraduate nursing program. Data were collected from 47 faculty and 17 students by means of focus groups that were audiotaped and transcribed. Content analysis was conducted to identify common themes in faculty and student transcripts. The themes that emerged provide insight into the educational strategy of self-directed learning and can be summarized by the following major points: (1) commitment to SDL requires students and faculty to understand the value of empowering learners to take increased responsibility for decisions related to learning; (2) students engaged in self-directed learning undergo a transformation that begins with negative feelings (i.e., confusion, frustration, and dissatisfaction) and ends with confidence and skills for lifelong learning; and (3) faculty development is important to ensure high levels of competency in facilitating self-directed learning.
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