Perceptions of Saudi medical students regarding self-directed learning: A qualitative study

Muhammad Imran, Sami Anwarfathi Kalantan, Mohammed Salim Alkorbi, Muhammad Shahid Shamim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore students' perceptions regarding self-directed learning, their experience of it, and how it may play a role in life-long learning. Methods: The exploratory study was conducted at the Faculty of Medicine in Rabigh, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in January and February 2018, and comprised male undergraduate medical students from academic years 2-6. Data was collected through focus group discussions regarding the students' perception of self-directed learning. The sessions were audiotaped, transcribed, and analysed thematically. Validation was done by member-checking and external audit. Results: There were 29 male students with a mean age of 22.4±1.9 years. A total of 4 focus group discussion sessions were conducted; 2(50%) with students of preclinical years 2 and 3, and 2(50%) with students of clinical years 4-6. Five major themes generated were: understanding of self-directed learning; views about self-directed learning as a strategy; process of the strategy; effects of self-directed learning; self-directed learning and life-long learning. Subthemes which led to developing major themes included self-study, personal efforts, and objectives and goals formed theme1; good strategy, boredom with lectures, and need guidance theme2; time management, outline of planning, and internet browsing theme3; deep learning and curiosity theme4; life-long learning and future progress theme 5. Conclusion: The students were found to have mixed perceptions regarding self-directed learning. Most students perceived that SDL could affect their learning and future progress positively. However, they needed support to effectively use this strategy. The faculty role was found to be crucial in this regard.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1403-1408
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Constructivist approach
  • Grounded theory
  • Qualitative study
  • Self-directed learning


Dive into the research topics of 'Perceptions of Saudi medical students regarding self-directed learning: A qualitative study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this