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This paper is a consideration of the philosophy of, and research into, general education. It examines some of the approaches to education and a small part of the research into discovery learning, self-directed study and student-selected goals of learning. Proposals are made for a single module of nurse training for admission to the register of general nurses which incorporate the philosophy and research-based ideals of self-directed learning. Finally, problems which may be anticipated in its implementation are discussed but no firm conclusions are drawn until these can be based on fact rather than conjecture.