Given the many changes that occur in medicine, health care and information technologies we need to prepare all our students to engage in self directed and life long learning. There is considerable opportunity for self‐directed and lifelong learning in health informatics bringing together students in exciting global learning environments, where they have much greater freedom and flexibility in their studies and potentially a wider variety of resources available to them. Self‐directed learning focuses on the process by which adults take control of their own learning, in particular how they set their own learning goals, locate appropriate resources, decide on which learning methods to use and evaluate their progress. Lifelong learning happens in a variety of formal and informal settings building on both intentional and incidental learning experiences.
In a lifelong learning situation the tutor must relinquish the role of expert and assume the role of facilitator, guiding learners to uncover their own knowledge. Against a back drop of rapid advances in technology which can be used to both deliver course materials and provide enhanced learning opportunities, this chapter outlines the pedagogic principles and practices which underpin self‐directed and lifelong learning.
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