Self directed learning or DIY education?
Independent learning has real advantages in the long term One of the latest educational crazes has been to encourage “self directed” (also known as “independent” or “autonomous”) learning for students. Is this based on sound educational theory? Or is it, as some students perceive, a case of lecturers neglecting their duty by expecting students to do it all themselves?
The main characteristic of such learning is that “students take some significant responsibility for their own learning over and above responding to instruction.”1 The approach stems from an inspiring book by the humanist Carl Rogers, who argued that learners should be encouraged to develop their own interests and learning free from fear or external direction.2 Of course this approach has to be modified in a medical school, where graduates will be licensed to practise medicine.
An important benefit of the self directed approach is that it can tackle one of the