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J Gen Intern Med. 2006 Sep;21(9):931-6.

Assessing physicians' orientation toward lifelong learning.

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  • 1Center for Research in Medical Education and Health Care, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.



Despite the importance of lifelong learning as an element of professionalism, no psychometrically sound instrument is available for its assessment among physicians.


To assess the validity and reliability of an instrument developed to measure physicians' orientation toward lifelong learning.


Mail survey.


Seven hundred and twenty-one physicians, of whom 444 (62%) responded.


The Jefferson Scale of Physician Lifelong Learning (JSPLL), which includes 19 items answered on a 4-point Likert scale, was used with additional questions about respondents' professional activities related to continuous learning.


Factor analysis of the JSPLL yielded 4 subscales entitled: "professional learning beliefs and motivation,""scholarly activities,""attention to learning opportunities," and "technical skills in seeking information," which are consistent with widely recognized features of lifelong learning. The validity of the scale and its subscales was supported by significant correlations with a set of criterion measures that presumably require continuous learning. The internal consistency reliability (coefficient alpha) of the JSPLL was 0.89, and the test-retest reliability was 0.91.


Empirical evidence supports the validity and reliability of the JSPLL.

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