Assessing readiness for self-directed learning within a non-traditional nursing cohort

Brian Phillips, Beverley Janet Turnbull, Flora He

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Increasing deregulation of the Australian tertiary system has led to changes in entry behaviours anticipated in non-traditional student cohorts. Many nursing students are returning to formal studies later in their lives seeking a career change. Accessibility and flexible study paths make external study increasingly attractive. However external studies require a level of commitment and willingness to develop self-direction and a capacity for resilience.

    This study sought to elicit the level of self-directed learning readiness (SDLR) among undergraduate nursing students currently enrolled at a bachelor level, and to elicit what differences existed in the levels of SDLR in relation to age, gender, academic year, and previous qualifications.

    An online survey questionnaire was utilised based on the Self-directed Learning Readiness Scale for Nursing Education. In contrast to earlier work, the participant profile in this study was predominantly non-traditional and captured participants from all three years of the nursing programme.

    Results found no significant age or gender differences. First year students demonstrated lower levels of self-directed learning readiness. However, unexpected results were demonstrated in the survey subscales in relation to previous qualifications. Participants who already held post-graduate qualifications showed lower scores for Self-Management than those who held diploma qualifications, while students who already held a bachelor's degree had the highest scores in Desire for Learning. The study findings suggest that universities should not assume that SDL capability is dependent on mature age or length of exposure to tertiary study.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)e1-e7
    Number of pages7
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2015


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