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JEEHP : Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions



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Medical students’ pattern of self-directed learning prior to and during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic period and its implications for Free Open Access Meducation within the United Kingdom  
Jack Barton, Kathrine Sofia Rallis, Amber Elyse Corrigan, Ella Hubbard, Antonia Round, Greta Portone, Ashvin Kuri, Tien Tran, Yu Zhi Phuah, Katie Knight, Jonathan Round
J Educ Eval Health Prof. 2021;18:5.   Published online April 6, 2021
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  • 7 Web of Science
  • 6 Crossref
AbstractAbstract PDFSupplementary Material
Self-directed learning (SDL) has been increasingly emphasized within medical education. However, little is known about the SDL resources medical students use. This study aimed to identify patterns in medical students’ SDL behaviors, their SDL resource choices, factors motivating these choices, and the potential impact of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic on these variables.
An online cross-sectional survey comprising multiple-choice, ranked, and free-text response questions were disseminated to medical students across all 41 UK medical schools between April and July 2020. Independent study hours and sources of study materials prior to and during the COVID-19 pandemic were compared. Motivational factors guiding resource choices and awareness of Free Open Access Meducation were also investigated.
The target sample was 75 students per medical school across a total of 41 medical schools within the United Kingdom (3,075 total students), and 1,564 responses were analyzed. University-provided information comprised the most commonly used component of independent study time, but a minority of total independent study time. Independent study time increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic (P<0.001). All sub-cohorts except males reported a significant increase in the use of resources such as free websites and question banks (P<0.05) and paid websites (P<0.05) as a result of the pandemic. Accessibility was the most influential factor guiding resource choice (Friedman’s μrank=3.97, P<0.001).
The use of learning resources independent of university provision is increasing. Educators must ensure equitable access to such materials while supporting students in making informed choices regarding their independent study behaviors.


Citations to this article as recorded by  
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JEEHP : Journal of Educational Evaluation for Health Professions