Self-Directed Learning (SDL) Tool

The purpose of the Self-Directed Learning (SDL) Tool is to support members' engagement in reflective practice related to their continuing professional development and require them to develop plans for professional improvement.

Registrants use the SDL Tool to:

  • Identify areas of strength; 
  • Identify areas that need improvement; 
  • Evaluate learning plans from the previous year to determine whether specific areas of competence have been met; and 
  • Develop learning plans to enhance specific areas of competence. 

SMART Learning Goals

A Proactive Approach to Professional Development
By completing your SDL Tool, you're taking a proactive approach to professional development by writing a SMART learning goal.

This learning goal-setting process helps you clarify your intentions, stay focused, and create a roadmap for your learning journey. By adhering to the SMART principles, you're demonstrating your commitment to continuous learning and improvement, and you're more likely to achieve meaningful results that contribute to your overall growth.

Why are SMART Learning Goals important?
Writing a SMART learning goal is a powerful tool to confirm your commitment to continuous learning and improvement. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Creating a learning goal that adheres to these principles becomes a clear and actionable plan that reinforces your dedication to ongoing professional growth.

Engagement in Learning and Improvement
Here's how writing a SMART learning goal can confirm your engagement in continuous learning and improvement:
  1. Specific: A SMART learning goal is specific, meaning it clearly defines what you want to achieve. This specificity helps you focus your efforts and resources on a well-defined objective. By articulating precisely what you want to learn or improve, you demonstrate your intention to address a particular area of knowledge.
  2. Measurable: A measurable SMART learning goal allows you to track your progress and determine when you've achieved your learning.  This ensures you can quantify your improvements and assess your learning outcomes. Measuring your progress is important for applying learning to improve your practice.
  3. Achievable: Your SMART learning goal should be realistic and achievable within the given timeframe and resources. Setting an attainable learning goal confirms your dedication to steady progress to maintain your motivation and continue your annual learning journey.
  4. Relevant: A SMART learning goal relates to professional aspirations. You ensure that your efforts contribute meaningfully to your growth by aligning your learning goal with your larger objectives. This relevance shows that you're committed to learning in a way that directly impacts your practice.
  5. Time-bound: Setting a specific timeframe for achieving your learning goal encourages consistent actions as planned for the upcoming year. The evaluation of learning goals in the SDL Tool allows dietitians to have flexibility in guiding their learning. When evaluating the learning goals written in last year’s SDL Tool, you may choose “yes,” “no,” or “currently pursuing” for the goal completion. If you have not been able to complete a goal, indicate a new goal that you have achieved or are currently pursuing and explain why in the appropriate section of the SDL Tool.


The SDL tool must be submitted online. To access the web-based SDL Tool, log into your Registrant Dashboard by using your Registration ID and Password and click on “Access to Current Year SDL Tool”. 

Retention of the SDL Tool

Every registrant must retain a copy of their completed SDL Tool for a period of five years.

Writing SMART Goals Resources

Additional Resources: Writing SMART Goals

Examples of Self-Directed Learning Goals

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Deadline for submission

All General registrants are required to submit their SDL Tool by October 31 each year. Notification of the submission process for the SDL Tool is emailed to all registrants in August.  

What if I miss the deadline for submission?

An administration fee of $130.80 is charged to any registrant who fails to submit their SDL Tool before midnight on October 31. 

Requests for extension in submission of the SDL Tool

You may submit a request for an extension in submitting your SDL Tool by completing the form provided. You must do this one week prior to the October 31 deadline; Requests considered by the Quality Assurance Committee include maternity/parental leave, personal hardship, current hospitalization, illness or bereavement.

In extenuating circumstances, requests received later will be considered.

Requests for exemption from the SDL Tool

Due to prolonged illness or other family crisis, a registrant may request an exemption from submitting the SDL Tool until they return to practice.