Self-Directed Learning and Skills of Problem-Based Learning: A Case of Nigerian Secondary Schools Chemistry Students

  •  Abbas Abubakar    
  •  Mohammad Arshad    


The role of chemistry in the development of any society cannot be overemphasized. Chemistry students are therefore expected to acquire flexible knowledge and problem solving skills to facilitate the expected development of our modern society. The purpose of this article is to investigate the roles of teachers and student in the development of self-directed learning and skills in Nigerian Secondary Schools. PBL is a student-centered pedagogy which helps students develop problem solving skills and improved knowledge through self-directed learning under teacher’s supervision. It is supported by Cognitive and Constructive psychologists. The learning process in Nigeria schools does not produce students with the required skills and knowledge, because of traditional instructions by teachers, poor learning environment and inadequate learning facilities. This gives a reason for the research. The study used a qualitative approach with explanatory design. Fifteen (15) chemistry students (16 years) and a teacher were purposefully selected in one Senior Secondary School as participants. The participants received 6 weeks of PBL lessons using a topic purification of water. The researchers collected data through observations field notes during the intervention process and also interview a focus group of 5 students after the PBL lessons. The data were transcribed, triangulated and analyzed using content analysis. The results showed students have improved learning and acquisition of problem solving skills including life-long learning and information management due effective self-directed learning activities among them. The researchers therefore recommend the introduction of self-directed learning approach in Nigerian Secondary Schools and other higher educational institutions.

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