LETTER TO EDITOR
Year : 2017 | Volume
: 3 | Issue : 2 | Page : 129--130
Epistemics – The under-emphasized factor in self-directed learning
V Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Kalapet, Puducherry, India
V Dinesh Kumar
Department of Anatomy, Pondicherry Institute of Medical Sciences, Kalapet, Puducherry
|How to cite this article:|
Kumar V D. Epistemics – The under-emphasized factor in self-directed learning.J Curr Res Sci Med 2017;3:129-130
|How to cite this URL:|
Kumar V D. Epistemics – The under-emphasized factor in self-directed learning. J Curr Res Sci Med [serial online] 2017 [cited 2021 Apr 20 ];3:129-130
Available from: https://www.jcrsmed.org/text.asp?2017/3/2/129/222409
The article by Devi et al. emphasized the significance of self-directed learning (SDL) in molding the students to become a life-long learner. Here, I intend to add few suggestions from epistemic point of view. Theories involving self-regulatory processes are usually kept aside in most studies as the assessment methods are more explicit. To be precise, SDL is as such an “umbrella” encompassing number of variables such as self-efficacy, volition and cognitive strategies of the student.
One of the basic models  involved in SDL (Zimmerman's Cyclical Phases Model) organizes the underpinnings of learning as forethought, performance, and self-reflection. When a group of students are assigned a task, they analyze it, divide into smaller goals, and plan about executing it. The level of motivation and learning strategies differ between students. In the performance phase, they execute the task where the students unconsciously learn (self-control) task strategies, self-instruction, help seeking, and time management. This can be equated for metacognitive abilities required for SDL. In the last phase of self-reflection, students often evaluate their performance themselves. Following this, they often attribute the “resultant feel” either as self-satisfaction (in success) or as one of the defensive mechanisms (in failure).
A key dual processing model  by Boekaerts' enunciates the epistemic of SDL in a different way. In a situation where a student feels that the activity/task (e.g., presenting amidst colleagues) going to be performed by him/her could shatter his/her ego, then he/she would opt for a “well-being” pathway by refraining from the mastery, or learning mode (i.e., not keen to present). Here, ego-protective goals (well-being) succeed cognitive goals (mastery or learning). Therefore, it is also quintessential to create a favorable learning environment by motivation, which ensures active participation of all students.
Pintrich  in his model advocated that motivation and affect have pivotal role in making the students staying focused on long-term outcomes. To be lucid, self-regulated learning process in SDL is a “feedback loop” with recursive phases which evolves over time, and metacognitive monitoring is the “chisel” fine-tuning it.
The persistence of students in SDL is largely motive driven. In medical schools, the motives can be prosocial (self-transcendent) where they feel that the gained knowledge will be of help to serve the people or self-oriented where the knowledge can help them to fetch a fulfilling career. Nevertheless, these motives are the ones which energises them to perform better.
Students' cognition process is mostly implicit. It is desirable for the facilitators of SDL to learn the learning theories operating behind this implicit process. While studying, students eventually use the strategies in an unconscious manner. Close metacognitive monitoring helps them to adapt their outputs making the best use of their personal capabilities. These factors have their own impact when students prepare for an SDL session. My humble suggestion is whenever SDL modules are held, and feedback questions are administered, we can include prompts for navigating the “motivational” (e.g., “can you grade the level of motivation you had after undergoing the SDL session?”) and “metacognitive” (e.g., “can you perceive the strengths and weakness of your learning process?”) landscape which can guide the students to reflect critically on their performance or problem solving.
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Conflicts of interest
There are no conflicts of interest.
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