Learner-centered Approach

Approach

A learner-centered approach is about shifting the focus of instruction from the instructor to the learner.  This shift offers the best experience for the learner because it has them engage with the instructor, the content, and other learners.  The constant engagement helps the learner develop a deeper understanding of the material presented. 

 

About Learner-centered Approach

The learner-centered approach puts participant’s interests first by acknowledging their needs as central to the learning experience.   Rather than designing the course from the instructor’s perspective, it is designed from the learner’s perspective.  Therefore, instead of lecturing or pushing content towards the learner where they are just passive listeners, the learner-centered approach encourages a dynamic relationship between the learners and the instructor.  The participant takes ownership of the content, determines how it will be useful or relevant to them, and builds the cognitive connections to allow the learning to be retained.

When the learner, rather than the instructor, is the focus of the instruction, the learning becomes more meaningful to the participant and allows for a better understanding of the information. 

Teaching Methods

With a learner-centered approach, a variety of teaching methods are used within the learning event to better engage the learner.   These methods are designed to develop a meaningful connection between each learner and the material being presented.  The learner is not a passive participant who just receives the information, they are actively involved in the learning process.  

Implementation of collaborative learning techniques help develop an interactive and supportive rapport among the learners.   Small work groups can be incorporated into the instructional approach allowing discussion and creation of ideas.  Collaboration among learners also provides more opportunities for the learner to engage with the content allowing the learner to build more connections to improve knowledge transfer.

There are a variety of teaching methods that can be implemented into the learning event including;

  • Small group work
  • Classroom discussion
  • Projects
  • Presentations
  • Games
  • Debates
  • Role play
  • Case Study
  • Simulations

Benefits

A learner-centered approach engages the participant in the learning process and encourages them to reflect on what they are learning and how they are learning it.  It also helps them develop life skills.  The approach helps students learn how to think, solve problems, make decisions, work as a team member, evaluate evidence, analyze arguments, and generate ideas.

 

Links

Teaching Strategies for Adult Learners

Adult Learning Principles

Strategies for Teaching Adult Learners

Adult Learning

How Children and Adults Learn

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