Student Centered Learning


In the due process of education student plays a vital role. He is at the receiving end with the pure motive of acquire knowledge and information in the form of education. Student centered learning is a concept where students are the pivotal element in the process of education. Education process basically involves teachers, students and administrators.

Students acquire education; teachers deliver education while administrators manage the working of the educational institution. Teacher centered learning is where teacher is in the center playing active role while students are at the receptive end with a passive role. While student centered learning is where students are active, participating in their process of learning.

Education format was basically followed as a teacher giving instructions to the students and students are expected at the receiving end to grasp all the information delivered by the teacher. However with the advancement of science and technology and changing era the approach towards education also changed. Instead of just depending on the teachers and revisions, students started making attempts for group study and peer learning. This gave emergence to student centered education, a process where student themselves decide on their learning format and selection.

Student centered Learning facilitates active participation of students in the learning process from the independent point of view. In this process students are supposed to utilize all their class time composing the new formats of learning materials being an active participant. The classrooms are promoted by utilizing valuable learning skills that builds the students with ability of achieving far-reaching learning goals that leads to the motivating factor amongst the students. Learning also leads to the development of intellectual as well as personal growth. When student himself makes attempt to learn something in his format it has a faster effect on his intellect as well as knowledge. A teacher centered classroom can turn into student centered class room only when the teacher gauges the diverse background of the learners.

Integration of student centered class room in the curriculum

    Reinforces Students motivation towards education.
    Upholds group or peer learning.
    Reduces troublesome behavior.
    Fosters Student-Teacher bond.
    Student is responsible for his own learning.

Student centered learning has brought a drastic change in the teaching methods also. The approach for reaching and learning is evolving spontaneously with new and trendy ways to reach the learners. Learning becomes more productive when teachers allow the students to explore their own routes towards academic success. This success is more or less achieved when learners are thoroughly engaged with the active learning process. In this format teacher is just a medium for students to acquire knowledge and is just supposed to guide the students with new version of the learning material.

Student centered learning provides students with the opportunity to their own format of learning to the curriculum and apply it as this process provides an exclusive learning objective. Though teacher provides genuine and appropriate opinions student is expected to generate knowledge. With a good rapport amongst the teacher-student and effective communication teacher can gauge students needs interest and overall commitment towards learning material.

Student centered learning enables the student to be a facilitating factor in his own learning process. Student centered learning is one of the best option for higher education and learning process as higher education more or less evolves group discussions, peer learning and team work.

Education upgraded my life and writing became my passion since then. Internet became the easiest medium for me to share my opinion, acquire information or enroll for Online Universities and Distance University

Why Students Should Earn Their Degree at an Online College

As instructors across the higher education sector continue to harness technology for use in their classrooms, many students are turning to the ever-expanding and innovative online college to earn a degree. Students who attend an online college are able to take advantage of a number of benefits that their fellow ground school students can't. Additionally, an online college is a popular option for non-traditional students, working adults, or students who want to go back to school, but have time constraints.

Amidst the hustle and bustle of the day-to-day routine, non-traditional students need options. And, with significant expansions in technology and access, working students and adults are being given the options they need to go back to school and earn a coveted college degree. Let's take a look at some of the benefits an online college offers its students and the ways an online college caters to its working students and busy professionals.

    Accessibility: One of the most touted benefits of online college has been its accessibility factor. Online education is singlehandedly making education accessible to students nationwide who are unable to attend ground schools. Because the Web is accessible from virtually anywhere, students can access their coursework, interact with their classmates and pose questions to their teacher, with an ease never seen before.
    Flexibility & Convenience: By and large, the flexibility of an online education is unparalleled. With an online degree program, there's no conforming your schedule to the schedule of a ground school with fixed class times. Instead, online learners set their own schedule and their own pace of learning. An online college is so convenient because students can "go" to class whenever they have the time. Your course schedule and the pace at which you complete your degree are your own.
    Variety of Courses and Degree Programs: Online college, like a ground college, offers the same diverse choice of classes and degrees. Are you a student who wants to earn an associate's degree in accounting? Or, are you a student who has already earned a bachelor's degree and would like to earn a higher-level degree such as a master's or PhD? Online college gives you all of those options, just like a ground school, but with more ease and flexibility.
    Student Centered Learning: If you've ever sat in a ground school classroom and felt a little lost in the middle of a lecture or too shy to ask a question, fear no more. Enrolling in an online degree program provides students with a student-centered approach to learning. Not only can an online student learn at his or her own pace, they also have the opportunity to virtually pose questions to instructors via email, instant messaging, or a discussion board. Additionally, because all of the course material is accessible online 24/7, online college students can re-watch podcasts or re-read lecture notes as many times as they need to.
    Lower Tuition Costs: It's no secret that tuition costs have been on the rise and while both online and ground schools have experienced spikes, attending an online college is definitely more cost-effective. Not only is tuition typically lower at most online colleges, but online students will also save on travel/commuting expenses and textbooks costs (as most course material and required reading will be made available online for free or for significantly less than at a ground school).
    Completing a Quality Degree Program More Quickly: Because of the accessibility, flexibility and convenience of online degree programs, students are able to learn at their own pace and, often, complete their degree program more quickly than their ground school counterparts. Instead of taking the traditional four-years to complete a bachelor's degree, online college students often complete their bachelor's degree in far less time.

The fact that prominent colleges and universities such as Harvard, MIT, the University of North Carolina and Columbia University now offer a variety of online degree programs and online courses speaks volumes to the legitimacy and quality of the digitized learning format.

Pursuing a college degree at an online college is one of the best choices students can make for their future.

Some final food for thought: Students who attend online college learn valuable technical and Web-based skills that many ground school students often don't. These tech skills can be a favorable component in a resume when searching for jobs in the highly-digital, 21st century workplace.

University Bound is THE authority in online education and the ultimate resource for prospective online students.

Roles and Responsibilities in the Educational Environment

With the advent of more and more student-centered learning approaches and other new methods to increase active involvement of learners in their own learning process, the traditional roles and responsibilities of both teacher and learner have changed in several ways. However, in one area, they remain the same.

In a traditional educational model roles and responsibilities are clear and well-defined. Teachers are responsible for effective delivery of content as well as assessing learning achievement. They are the knowledge experts and their primary role is to impart that knowledge to their learners in effective ways.

Learners are responsible for attending class and completing reading and other assignments as proscribed by the teacher. Although their first role in the process is as passive listener, listening requires paying attention during class. Outside the class, their role becomes more active, requiring reading and completion of assignments selected by the teacher.

Some traditional teachers felt their responsibility began and ended with quality presentation of content and later assessment through examination. The responsibility for paying attention and studying was left up to the learner. In some university and post graduate environments, class attendance is left up to the student.

Today we look for active student involvement in the learning process, but what does that mean? Are all learners capable of making decisions on their own with little or no input from the teacher? Do they know enough to select their own class projects and assignments?

Some critics see student-learning environments that allow unabridged freedom of choice as an abdication of the teacher's most important responsibility - to ensure learning is taking place. Indeed, some go so far as to say some contemporary attempts at active involvement are little more than anarchy, allowing the "inmates to run the asylum."

Even under traditional approaches, good teachers often refused to accept without question the actions of students who showed no interest in learning. So it should be with today's educational approaches, be they discovery learning, student-centered learning, or any other active involvement technique.

When John Dewey's progressive education led to some classrooms allowing total student freedom, Dewey himself cautioned the teacher was still ultimately responsible to ensure learning took place. He saw the teacher's role as that of coach and facilitator who still maintained the ultimate responsibility for ensuring an effective educational environment.

In today's language, one might say the teacher is still "the adult in the room", in that he or she knows what needs to happen for learning to take place. Some teachers approach the challenge of achieving appropriate student involvement as something of a contract negotiation.

At the first learning session, focus is on what the teacher will bring to the process and what the learners are expected to do. A good teacher allows sufficient time to ensure expectations and standards are discussed and understood by all. In addition, good teachers are willing to modify expectations if necessary and to accept student input.

However, once the expectations for teacher and learner roles and responsibilities are set, it is the teacher's job to see that they are adhered to.

Social Learning Theory and Student Success

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges as an instructor is not simply motivating learners, but continuing to engage, hold the attention, and inspire them to remain active participants throughout the learning experience. More recently, Social Learning Theories, and their practical application, are being explored as a means for improving learner success by offering a more interactive and guided - rather than dictated - learning environment. The instructional shift from dictatorship to instructional guide creates a "Student - Centered" learning environment which places learners back in control of their learning experience.

Social Learning Perspectives

Social learning perspectives consider three primary factors which influence the instructional - learner relationship:

1. Context - the resources we use to develop knowledge.

    Books
    Computers
    Personal Experience
    Interactions - social engagements, feedback, communication

2. Culture & Community - our beliefs, sense of community, communication, linguistic differences that contribute to our unique learning and interaction styles which commonly include: gender, ethnicity, and age. These factors also contribute to common goal attainment and the perceived sense of community learners feel in relation to their classmates.

3. Learner Characteristics - the nature/origin of a learner's knowledge and beliefs. Generally speaking, the act of learning is fluid in the sense that it is ever-changing based on what we have or are learning.

    Prior Knowledge
    Individual Learning Style - auditory, visual, kinesthetic, or a combination. A learners preferred method of learning is as unique as each learner.
    Self - efficacy (confidence) - how confident is the learner when presented with new tasks? Anxious? Excited?
    Motivation - learner motivation can be intrinsic (behaviors directed toward personal interest or gain), extrinsic (behaviors directed toward external rewards), or a combination of both.

The Benefits

Learner confidence, motivation, and overall success are greatly improved when working from a curriculum designed with social learning perspectives in mind. Essentially, learners who are bestowed with the choice, and responsibility, of being an active learner are more engaged in the learning process since it is no longer a passive environment - lectures for example are passive learning experiences whereas class discussions are interactive. Perhaps the simplest, and most basic way, to integrate social learning perspectives into an existing curriculum is by offering activities, and levels of interaction, fostering student learning and success by catering to the engagement and readiness levels of an assorted student population.

Cooperative & Peer Learning

Perhaps one of the most useful Social Learning theories is Cooperative or peer learning. An instructional environment that encourages group work, guided discussions, and activities requiring social interaction between students enriches the learning experience. Using the Constructivism example, interactions between students of varying backgrounds and belief structures will internalize and process content differently. By requiring interactive activities, instructors afford each student the opportunity to share their point of view thereby quite frequently enlightening their classmates to new ideas. Research confirms group study results in better performance.

Final Thoughts

Learners, as active participants in the educational exchange, develop over time, behaviors essential to learner achievement. An understanding of social learning perspectives and a diverse curriculum of activities geared toward active learning is the keystone to promoting: self-regulated learning, content exploration, accountability, improved learner confidence, reflective thinking, motivation, and overall learner success.

Dr Bryan A. West is the owner and manager of Fortress Learning http://www.fortresslearning.com.au, an Australian Registered Training Organisation who consistently generates greater than 90% student satisfaction ratings with their range of online courses. Learn more by visiting http://www.fortresslearning.com.au.

How ICT Supported Learning Impacts On The Education Curriculum

ICT captures all the latest technologies used for communication, data processing and data storage. It plays an important role in society when we take into account the social, cultural and economic role of computers and the internet. Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) provide a window of opportunity for educational institutions and other organizations to harness and use technology to complement and support the teaching and learning process.

Educational systems around the world are under increasing pressure to use the new information and communication technologies to teach students the knowledge and skills they need in the 21st century. E-learning is an example of the use of these ICT-supported teaching and learning methods whose use in educational institutions is gaining momentum with the passage of time.

Unlike the technology that came before ICT's (e.g. overhead projectors and audio cassettes) which was merely used as an aid for the teacher, the impact of ICT has far surpassed the role of an aid and is even seen in the light of changing the traditional roles of the teacher and learner in teaching and learning situations. ICT's are transforming the whole process of schooling including shifting the choice of the curriculum from the teacher to the learner.

Information and Communication Technology has a clear impact on the development of educational curricula. It is concerned with what is learned and taught and how learning and teaching occurs. What is learned and taught includes objectives, content, and learning outcomes (the knowledge, skills and attitudes that students are intended to demonstrate). The "how" of the curriculum concerns teaching and learning methodology, teaching strategies and media resources.

On the content, ICT is impacting by shifting to competency and performance-based curricula which require access to a variety of information sources, access to a variety of information forms and types and student-centered learning settings based on information access and inquiry. The teacher plays the role of a coach not a content expert.

Another way in which emerging ICTs are impacting on the content of education curricula stems from the ways in which ICTs are dominating so much of contemporary life and work. Students are able to display appropriate levels of information literacy.

Apart from the content, ICTs are also impacting on the methodology. Shift from content-centered curricula to competency-based curricula are associated with moves from teacher-centered forms of delivery to student-centered forms. Through technology-facilitated approaches, contemporary learning settings now encourage students to take responsibility for their own learning.

Online Learning - Student-Centered Learning

Benefits of student-centered learning environments include dynamic and constantly evolving learning through activities that focus on underlying cognitive processes which are based in relevant contexts. Carl Rogers' person-centered learning theory posits that a person having learned in this manner has learned how to learn and is able to adjust to different types of learning as required in diverse settings. In open-ended learning environments the learner directs the learning processby monitoring his or her learning needs and creating an action plan to meet those needs through projects and reflection.

Benefits of Student-Centered Learning

These are true benefits of a student-centered learning environment. Learners who really want to learn flourish in this environment, while those that are in classes for other reasons (parents sent them to college, or they had nothing else to do so came to school) will not fare as well. The dynamic nature of this environment will sometimes change a student from an unwilling participant to an excited learner striving to learn all he or she can about the subject at hand. In the online course, the learner must direct his or her learning process, since the instructor is not standing next to the student telling him or her what to do next.

Expanded Thinking and Learning

Students and learners who are allowed to expand their thinking and learning beyond the historical lock-step environment grow more in their abilities, skills and thinking than do their counterparts in less open environments. Open-ended, student-centered environments properly designed to support learners allow them the best opportunity to succeed. It also gives them the prospect of finding something they want to learn more about--serendipity. As learning progresses, students are allowed to assess their progress and learning needs, to adjust the learning as necessary. As an example, a student in an online class can carefully study material that is not known, or skim material that is known, to meet the learning need.

More Meaningful Learning

In the properly scaffolded environment, self-directed learning is far more meaningful than standardized education. This is true with both online and face-to-face classes at the university level. To be effective, learning must be meaningful to the student. Otherwise, the instructor's time in creating the environment and assignments, and the student's time in taking the course, are both wasted.

Linda S Pogue is the Webmaster of http://www.studentagain.com and http://www.momsredkitchen.com She will complete her MS in Education with an emphasis in Instructional Design for Online Learning in March 2009.