Examination of self-directed learning readiness of paramedic undergraduates: A multi-institutional study

Brett Williams, Malcolm Boyle, Christian Winship, Richard Brightwell, Scott Devenish, Graham Munro


Background: The ability to engage in self-directed learning (SDL) is considered to be essential for professional practice in out-of-hospital settings since paramedics are expected to continue and update their knowledge and understanding throughout their professional career.

Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine undergraduate paramedic students’ attitudes and readiness towards self-directed learning at four Australian universities.

Methods: A cross-sectional study involving a paper-based questionnaire was undertaken employing a convenience sample of undergraduate paramedic students in semester 1, 2010. Attitudes and readiness for self-directed learning were elicited by the Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale (SDLRS) consisting of a 5-point Likert scale (1=Strongly Disagree and 5=Strongly Agree).

Findings: There were 259 students who participated.  Most students were from Monash University (n=113) and Charles Sturt University (n=77). Two-thirds (n=169) of students were < 25 years of age with 54% female. Students from Queensland University of Technology produced the highest SDL score 160.38 (SD=13.56) while participants from Charles Sturt University produced the lowest mean score 154.60 (SD=14.51). Second year students produced the highest total mean score 157.52 (SD=15.19). Statistical significance was identified between the Self-Control Subscale F=3.10, p=0.010 and Self-Management Subscale F=2.83, p=0.017.

Conclusions: This is the first study of its kind involving paramedic undergraduate students in Australia. The results from this study suggest undergraduate paramedic students from four different Australian universities possess an adequate level of self-directed learning readiness. As paramedic-orientated degree programs continue to emerge and develop, establishing SDL needs will assist paramedic educators in diagnosing student learning needs, and assist in shaping contemporary and student-centred curriculum.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5430/jnep.v3n2p102

Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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