Physicians must be lifelong learners in order to provide updated and effective patient care. Self-directed learning (SDL) is a critical component of the continuing professional development of many of today’s busy practitioners.

What is self-directed learning?

Self- directed learning has been essentially described as “ a process in which individuals take the initiative with or without the help of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identifying resources for learning, choosing and implementing learning strategies and evaluating learning outcomes.” (Knowles 1975)

Self-directed learning strategies

Self-directed learning allows you to manage your knowledge acquisition more personally. You control where, what, when and how you learn. What is essential to keep in mind is your learning needs- both perceived (what a learner thinks about their needs) and unperceived (discrepancies not perceived by the learner). Self-directed learners should understand their scope of practice, know their practice demographics, and assess data on personal performance through self- observation and accepting feedback. Self-directed learners benefit from creating a learning plan and make a commitment to fulfilling their goals through inquiring and solving problems, choosing relevant resources and remaining motivated in improving their performance.

Resources for Self–Directed Learning

Focus Training Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Training


UpToDate is now available free of charge to all physicians in the province of Manitoba.

Essential Evidence Plus

Essential Evidence Plus is an evidence-based, subscription self-learning platform that gives the user access to thousands of guidelines, summaries and point-of-care topics.

Resources for Prescribers

Price comparison of commonly prescribed medications in Manitoba.

This useful list is helpful for any health care practitioner wanting to know what their patient pays for the medication they are prescribed.

More Library Learning Resources

Additional resources via Manitoba’s Health Information and Knowledge Network (MHIKNET), including webinar recordings and Choosing Wisely recommendations.

Resources for Family Physicians

The College of Family Physicians of Canada offers a number of self-directed learning programs for practicing family physicians.

CFPC Self Learning

CFPC Self Learning Self Learning is a voluntary, Internet-based, CFPC educational program that allows physicians to evaluate themselves on how well they are able to keep in touch with current issues in medical literature.

Library Services – Toolkit

Manitoba’s Health Information and Knowledge Network (MHIKNET, pronounced “my net”) is a service provided by the University of Manitoba’s Health Sciences Libraries to all fee-for-service physicians in Manitoba and offers a multitude of services for self-directed learning.


Pearls™ is a self-directed evidence-based practice reflection exercise and is available at no cost to both CFPC Members and Non-members. As a self-learning activity, it helps physicians take their own clinical questions, decide on a course of action supported by the literature, and then reflect on the effectiveness of the process.

Three (3) Mainpro-C credits can be claimed for every completed Pearls™ exercise submitted.

Linking Learning to Practice

Members may generate their own Mainpro-C credits by completing practice-based reflective learning exercises around many different kinds of learning activities. These activities are treated as stimuli for the generation of practice-related questions and as the main sources of information to address these questions. Questions can be related to any legitimate role of family physicians – clinical, academic, or administrative

Two (2) Mainpro-C credits can be claimed for each completed exercise.

Resources for Royal College Fellows

Self-Assessment Programs

Self-Assessment Programs are tools that enable physicians to assess aspects of their knowledge or practice and to identify opportunities to enhance their competence through further learning activities. Self-Assessment Programs are not tests but assessment strategies to assist physicians to develop an effective continuing professional development plan linked to their professional roles and responsibilities.

Physicians may claim MOC Section 3 credits when enrolled in one of the following RCPS approved programs:

Personal Learning Project (PLP)

A personal learning project is a self-initiated learning activity launched by a question you have identified in your professional practice. These projects can be developed individually or in collaboration with your peers (collective learning projects).

To create a PLP:

  • Identify a question, issue, dilemma or idea that is relevant to your professional practice.
  • Describe the reason or stimulus that prompted the development of the project.
  • Describe the learning activities (resources) you used to answer the question or issue.
  • Describe what you learned (the outcome) in terms of your professional development or impact on practice.

Physicians may claim MOC Section 2 credits when completing structured learning projects.