Background: Understanding how autonomous students are capable of regulating their own learning process is essential to develop self-directed teaching methods. Aim: To understand how self-directed medical students approach learning in medical schools at University of Concepción, Chile. Material and Methods: A qualitative and descriptive study, performed according to Grounded Theory guidelines, following Strauss & Corbin was performed. Twenty medical students were selected by the maximum variation sampling method. The data collection technique was carried out by a semi-structured thematic interview. Students were interviewed by researchers after an informed consent procedure. Data were analyzed by the open coding method using Atlas-ti 7.5.2 software. Results: Self-directed learners were characterized by being good planners and managing their time correctly. Students performed a diligent selection of contents to study based on reliable literature sources, theoretical relevance and type of evaluation. They also emphasized the discussion of clinical cases, where theoretical contents can be applied. This modality allows them to gain a global view of theoretical contents, to verbalize knowledge and to obtain a learning feedback. Conclusions: The learning process of autonomous students is intentional and planned.
Learning; Students, medical; Qualitative research