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Overcoming the Reluctance of Medical Professionals to Embrace Self-Directed Learning in Response to COVID-19
1  Scholar in Residence, History of Medicine Program, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto


As a result of the 12 March 2020 lockdown of academic institutions in response to COVID-19, overnight, self-directed learning via online platforms became indispensable for all medical professionals. The curricula of medical professionals and research regarding adult learning recommend self-directed learning as the preferred method of learning. Yet medical professionals, especially medical students, have been reluctant to embrace self-directed learning for various reasons. Those who do adopt self-directed learning willingly have been found to have a passion for learning as well as a higher grade point average (GPA). One method for encouraging self-directed learning in medical professionals is the multi-disciplinary, on-line University of Toronto Health Narratives Research Group. The limitations regarding medical learning resulting from COVID-19 show no sign of abating. Therefore, medical professionals, especially medical students, would do well to participate in multi-disciplinary groups like the Health Narratives Research Group to encourage and enrich their ability to self-direct their learning. Furthermore, the curricula of medical programs should support their efforts to do so through providing opportunities to engage in such multi-disciplinary narrative research groups.

Keywords: COVID-19; lockdown; self-directed learning; medical professionals; medical students; curricula; higher GPA; narrative research; multi-disciplinary