Speech pathology students enrolled in a lecture-based gross human anatomy program completed two out of nine topics in self-directed mode. Student performance in quizzes was compared for the two modes, and the students completed questionnaires on their perceptions of the self-directed mode of delivery. Students performed as well in the first self-directed topic as they did in lecture-based material, but performance declined significantly on the second self-directed topic. Correlations showed that students who performed well in lecture-based topics also performed well on self-directed topics. The major issues that arose in the student questionnaires were primarily related to the amount of content in the topics and the length of time required for completion. We conclude that there is a strong need for appropriate design of distance education materials to reflect student perceptions of length, content, and time investment, and more importantly that there is a need to ensure extensive communication and support of students studying in distance education/self-directed modes for the first time. Anat Sci Ed 2008. © 2008 American Association of Anatomists.