The Self-directed Learning Readiness of First Year Bachelor of Nursing Students

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This article was originally published as:

Smedley, A. (2007). The self-directed learning readiness of first year bachelor of nursing students. Journal of Research in Nursing, 12(4), 373-385. doi:10.1177/1744987107077532



Self-directed learning (SDL) has evolved as a method of learning into Australian nurse education over the past few years with enthusiastic claims of increasing student numbers and access to learning. It is an educational concept and transformative learning process that has been used increasingly in adult education, especially within tertiary institutions. Most tertiary educational institutions now offer components of their nursing programmes using self-directed learning methods that may include distance programmes, blended mode or flexible delivery, clinical learning logs and independent learning contracts or problem based packages. This paper reports on research that evaluated the self-directed learning readiness of undergraduate student nurses in their first year of the Bachelor of Nursing (BN) programme within a private tertiary education institution in Sydney, Australia. These findings were compared to research undertaken with beginning degree students in a large public university nurse education programme in Sydney and identified remarkably similar results. Results from both studies were similar and highlight the need for curriculum developers to include strategies in beginning level degree subjects to cultivate self-directed learning skills for nurses.


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