Student-centered learning puts the student in control of what and how they will learn and why they want to learn. This approach is different from conventional teaching when the instructor drives the content and pace of the educational material. Benefits to this model include increased student engagement and teacher collaboration to produce positive student outcomes and encourage lifelong learners. To further define the student-centered model, consider these four design elements K-12 publishers can employ to support student-centered learning.
What are the Characteristics of Student-Centered Learning?
Most importantly, the student-centered model acknowledges and celebrates that all learners have different styles and rates of learning. Each student has strengths and needs, feelings, and goals, best addressed on an individual basis. As such, learners benefit from active participation in their “personalized” education, and the power they are given to master their world. Meanwhile, instructors can use this model to provide structure and accommodations for individual learning modalities. They work together with students to facilitate learning and shared decision-making. In addition, teachers guide students to handle challenges and find solutions. Furthermore, principles of student-centered learning include the following:
- Forming positive relationships between students, peers, and teachers
- Meeting the needs of the whole child, including academic, emotional, and physiological
- Giving students the freedom to pursue their interests while teachers serve as facilitators
- Solving real-world problems relevant to a student’s life
- Developing a positive sense of student identity
As K-12 publishers embrace the student-centered model, they can apply the following principles to course material creation and implementation.
Support Authentic Learning for Student-Centered Learning
Firstly, publishers should create materials for students to complete research on real-world issues for student-centered learning. Therefore, students create products and solutions that can be implemented in the real world. Providers will create materials beyond looking up information. Publishers can produce student-centered materials to encourage active participation. Similarly, authentic learning also connects to career awareness. As students discover their unique interests and talents, they become aware of career options suited for them. Thus, provider materials can help students narrow their career choices that will help them create meaningful and productive lives.
Design Curricula That Promote Experiential and Inclusive Connections
Likewise, publishers and providers should develop curricula that allow students to make connections through experimentation and inclusivity. In other words, curricula should be thematic and allow students to view the world from multiple perspectives. Furthermore, learning materials should be experiential and participatory as opposed to passive and uninvolved.
Allow Student Choice for Student-Centered Learning
Besides that, materials should be rich and flexible enough to provide work for students as they progress on their self-appointed learning path. Student-centered material centers on student inquiry and problem-solving. Teachers cannot fully anticipate a class’s direction. Learning is based on the students, so they cannot plan detailed lessons. Therefore, the most successful student-centered material is technology-based to give students wider opportunities for exploring.
Self-Reflection, Metacognition, and Self-Regulation Support Student-Centered Learning
Thus, publishers should design materials that allow students to set, prioritize, and monitor goals, which are meaningful to them. In this way, student-centered learning allows for self-reflection, metacognition, and self-regulation. Curricula should help learners form connections between new material and their prior learning. The model encourages immediate and detailed feedback to students. Moreover, it should promote reflective dialogue and problem-solving with peers.
In summary, the student-centered model allows students to be active participants in their educational experiences. By employing these four principles, K-12 publishers and leaders can create materials that support student-centered learning.