Self-directed learning is best described by Malcolm Knowles, a very well known educator.
“In its broadest meaning, ’self-directed learning’ describes a process by which individuals take the initiative, with or without the assistance of others, in diagnosing their learning needs, formulating learning goals, identify human and material resources for learning, choosing and implement appropriate learning strategies, and evaluating learning outcomes.” (Knowles, 1975, p. 18).
And so, the key things to remember from this are first, that you have chosen to enter into this learning experience and you are responsible to follow up and complete your learning. You will naturally get input from other people but you are required to work out your own solutions and understanding. The main point is that you are in charge of your learning; you know the objectives – what the goals are of the course or project – you have the resources, you share this experience with other students and a course facilitator or teacher. This is probably very different from how you have learned before, but it is very much like Canadian professional practice.