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Examines in Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

Self-Directed Learning Skills of Undergraduate Physiotherapy Students: A Cross-Sectional Survey

  • Open or CloseIsha Akulwar-Tajane1* and Annamma Varghese2

    1Assistant Professor in Neuro Physiotherapy, K J Somaiya College of Physiotherapy, Mumbai, India

    2Professor in Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy, K J Somaiya College of Physiotherapy, Mumbai, India

    *Corresponding author: Isha Akulwar-Tajane, Department of Neuro Physiotherapy, Mumbai, India

Submission: March 23, 2021; Published: April 21, 2021

DOI: 10.31031/EPMR.2020.03.000561

ISSN: 2637-7934
Volume 3 Issue 2


Background: Self-Directed Learning (SDL) is an important form of adult learning and is at the core of undergraduate medical education. SDL skills and technology readiness are postulated as integral factors influencing individual behavior and academic performance in blended learning contexts. So far, the predominant instructor-led face-to face learning approach in traditional learning environments has not considered the importance of these factors. Recently, strict nationwide lock down for the COVID-19 closed educational institutions and ushered in online learning to continue learning. Students are facing uncertainties in the online learning context and need to adjust or formulate their own best learning strategies to suit this newly adopted model of ‘self-directed learning with technology’. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the SDL skills of Physiotherapy students.

Methodology: A cross-sectional online survey was conducted in undergraduate physiotherapy students. A semi-structured questionnaire was developed considering multiple dimensions of SDL skills and assessed students’ perception of their own SDL skills. 227 students voluntarily participated.

Result: Majority of the Physiotherapy students possess the fundamental qualities of SDL skills. However, students found it difficult to adapt to a new learning situation and expressed a sense of discomfort and insecurity in using online learning platforms. The other domain with low perceived skills was ‘self-control’ where students mentioned lack of focus, inconsistency in efforts and difficulty to overcome procrastination.

Conclusion: This study helped to identify aspects influencing students’ learning processes from their own perspectives and provided valuable insights into the special needs and behavior of students in the context of COVID-19 lockdown. Students’ perceived difficulty in their adaptation to online learning methods highlights the need for prior training with learning platforms, and a change in pedagogical approach.

Keywords: Self directed learning skills; Physiotherapy education; Online learning; Covid-19 lockdown

Abbreviations: SDL: Self-Directed Learning

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