Self-assessment, Self-direction, and the Self-regulating Professional

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Abstract

One of the cornerstones of autonomy for any profession is the claim to self-regulation. To be effectively self-regulating, the profession generally depends on the individual practitioner to self-regulate his own maintenance of competence activities. This model of individual self-regulation, in turn, depends on the practitioner's ability to self-assess gaps in competence and willingness to seek out opportunities to redress these gaps when identified. The literature relevant to these processes, however, would suggest this model of individual self-regulation is overly optimistic. We review the literature and describe several difficulties associated with the traditionally held model of individual self-regulation. In particular, research demonstrates repeatedly that 1) self-assessment is not an effective mechanism to identify areas of personal weakness and that 2) even when areas of weakness are obvious to the adult learner, we often avoid engaging in learning in these areas because such learning often takes more energy and commitment than we are willing to expend. Implications of these difficulties for the current model of self-regulation are explored.

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