Self-directed learning consists of five elements, as defined by LCME Standard ED-5-A and LCME Education Database Instructions: 

Students must:

  1. Assess their own learning needs, individually or in groups (i.e., set their own learning objectives).
  2. Identify, analyze, and synthesize information relevant to their self-identified learning needs.
  3. Assess the credibility of information sources they find.
  4. Share the information with their peers and supervisors.
  5. Receive feedback on their information retrieval and synthesis skills.

In order to assure a learning environment that incorporates these elements, problem-based learning sessions (PBL) will be incorporated into the first and second year of the curriculum beginning academic year 2014-15.  These PBL sessions will meet all components of the LCME definition of self-directed learning (SDL).

By academic year 2015-16, each major block of the curriculum for years one and two will include self-directed learning (SDL) sessions that are planned in collaboration with the Office of Medical Education.  SDL sessions will be problem-based learning (PBL) sessions coordinated by the Office of Medical Education.  Any other form of SDL proposed by course or thread directors must be pre-approved by the Educational Policy Committee by March 15 (fall semester courses) or August 15 (spring semester courses).

  • For Academic Year 2014-15, there will be 10 PBL cases during the first two years of the curriculum.  Five PBL cases will be presented in the spring semester of MS-1 and 5 will be presented during the spring semester of MS-2.  Each PBL case will be 4-6 hours, spread over multiple sessions.
  • Beginning Academic Year 2015-16, the total number of PBL cases will increase to 20 (10 per academic year for each of the first two years of the curriculum).

The EPC will discuss PBL topics in the context of the proposed schedule for each course each academic year by the first meeting in May (fall semester courses) or October (spring semester courses).  The EPC is responsible for requesting changes or granting final approval for all SDL assignments.