What drives students' self-directed learning in a hybrid PBL curriculum

Young Mee Lee, Karen V. Mann, Blye W. Frank

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    35 Citations (Scopus)


    Evidence supporting Problem-based learning (PBL) fostering students' self-directed learning (SDL) in hybrid PBL curricula is inconsistent. To explore the influence of PBL in a hybrid curriculum on students' SDL, the authors investigated the following: (1) students' self-assessed SDL ability, (2) students' perceptions of the influence of curricular components on SDL, and (3) the relationships between curricular elements and SDL. The research questions were explored both quantitatively and qualitatively. All year 1 (n = 93) and year 2 (n = 93) students in 2004 were invited to participate. Participants completed a 53-item questionnaire addressing (a) self-assessment of their SDL ability, and (b) perceived influence of individual curriculum elements on individual study and SDL. Student and faculty focus group interviews (FGIs) were conducted. Students rated their SDL skills highly, particularly identifying knowledge deficits, learning skills and strategies, and managing study time. Students thought lectures helped in selecting study topics and learning for the tutorial case. Other components including tutors, unit/case objectives, tests, and tutorial discussions, were seen as influencing what to study and the learning process. No significant difference was observed in the responses between year 1 and 2 students. Among the six curriculum components, tutorial discussion and objectives were weakly correlated with with SDL ability. Findings from students and faculty focus group supported the perceived positive influence of the curriculum on SDL. This study found that students' perceived SDL ability was positively influenced by several components of the hybrid PBL curriculum. However, further investigations are needed for a clearer understanding of the specific effects of the hybrid PBL curriculum on students' SDL.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)425-437
    Number of pages13
    JournalAdvances in Health Sciences Education
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • PBL
    • Self-directed learning
    • Undergraduate medical education

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Education


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