Self Directed Learning for Healthcare Professionals

Key takeaways
Self Directed Learning for Healthcare Professionals

What is self directed learning?

Self directed learning is about taking charge of your own learning. It is defined as a learning strategy which allows learners to take ownership of their own learning process. This including understanding one’s learning needs, identifying learning goals, selecting learning strategies and evaluating learning performances and outcomes. Traditionally, academics contrast this to direct learning, which is the more common approach, usually found in lecture theatres and classrooms.

Why is self directed learning important?

Being able to self direct your learning means you are able to recognise the gaps in your own knowledge and fill these gaps. It allows the flexibility to tailor your learning to what you are most passionate about. Independent learners have more freedom to learn something new, or challenge themselves when, and how they want. This can all help to cement what you learn and make it meaningful, overall giving you a better quality of life with continuous self growth.

The benefits for self-directed learning

Flexibility is important for the self-directed learner. Sometimes this means being able to work from home, or from a library or coffee shop, or from any other number of locations. Some learners simply prefer complete flexibility and the ability to make their own schedule for both instruction time and study time. One benefit of self-directed learning is that there are no scheduling issues, as long as you can stay on task. Another benefit is that learners learn at their own pace. There are no reports due at the end of each week that are based on a set curriculum, so you don’t have to worry about finishing the assignments by a certain deadline.

What is the self-directed learning process?

There are six key elements of self directed learning. 

Using initiative to learn, with or without the help of others

It all starts with your need or desire and may include help from others or be driven entirely independently.

Identifying what you need to learn

You decide what’s most important for you to learn - an area in which you are not fully proficient. From this point, you select a learning activity based on what you need to learn.

Determined learning goals

Create learning outcomes for that activity you are choosing and use your learning to reach that goal.

Identify the resources you need to learn

Determine what resources including people or material resources you require to learn.

Choose and implement appropriate learning strategies

Determine the best fit for what you want to learn and how you learn it. This includes the stages of the learning process and the timeline to complete it.

Review your learning outcomes

Critical reflection on what works and what doesn’t work allows you to decide whether to repeat this strategy or try something different next time to improve your approach.

Why is it important for health care professionals?

The healthcare industry is constantly changing, with new discoveries and approaches in all fields of work. Whilst your tertiary education will provide you with a foundation of knowledge, the best health care providers take the initiative and self-directed learning tools to continue to up-skill within their role. 

Self-directed learning is a powerful way to keep up with the latest advances in your field. It allows you to explore new topics on your own time, at your own pace, and in a way that is most relevant to you. With self-directed learning, you are able to capitalise on the latest technologies and resources to enrich your knowledge and keep up with the ever-changing field of health care. This not only helps to provide the best care possible but it also keeps you passionate about your work  by learning more about the things you love most about your work.

Increase your capacity with Ascend

Your support services are designed to address your unique goals and want you to feel comfortable with your ongoing support needs. We arrange an initial meet-and-greet between all our new clients and potential students until you find the right support worker for you.

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