Three Elements of a Successful Student-Centred Approach to Learning
Since the early 1990’s e-learning programs have begun to spring up all over the globe. As the market for online skill learning programs began to grow, so has the terms in which they go by; online learning, e-learning, remote learning, virtual learning, educational gaming, web-based training, and the list goes on. While many of these terms are indeed synonymous, the quality of various online skill learning programs is not.
In today’s world, there is almost no time in which an individual must succumb to a “one size fits all” mindset. From personalized clothing to specialty brewed coffee, our ability to customize is limitless. To maximise learning benefits, both in person and through e-learning programs, it is essential for educators to keep this in mind. This can be done by implementing a student-centred approach to learning.
A student-centred (or learning-centred) approach, as described by its name, keeps a student at the centre of the learning experience. This means that students are active in their learning, rather than passive, and the culture of a classroom invites more collaboration and discussion amongst peers and the teacher, rather than a teacher being the sole provider of information.
A student-centred approach enhancing engagement by giving students more responsibility in the decision making that occurs before and during instruction. Specifically, students are given a say in what they learn, and how they learn it. Perhaps most importantly, the rationale as to why content is being covered can be recognized differently by each student through connecting it to their own life. This process increases relevance for students and inherently increases buy-in.
By keeping students involved in their learning, a student-centred approach improves participation, enhances retention of knowledge, and naturally encourages the development of leadership skills.
Student-Centred Approach to e-Learning
Since its inception, Leaders of Evolution has been taking advantage of the technology we have available to create online skill learning programs that are customizable and built using a student-centred approach. Because of this approach, our online skill learning programs are not solely completed online and our materials are not the only source of knowledge. Instead, they are designed to be completed alongside class discussion and peer interactions. Keeping true to our student-centred approach Leaders of Evolution encourage teachers to guide learning and development by acting as facilitators rather than instructors throughout our online skill learning programs.
Making the Most of a Student-Centred Approach
For students to glean as much benefit from our online skill learning programs as possible, Leaders of Evolution believes that a student-centred approach should be supported by two key activities: application and reflection.
While completing online skills learning programs students need to be given the opportunity to apply what they have learned. For example, a student does not simply need to be able to state what self-awareness means but rather needs to demonstrate their understanding of self-awareness during a class activity. This could look like offering to contribute something they are good at during a group project or seeking feedback from peers.
Regardless of the skill being taught, students need to regularly apply what they have learned to solidify their understanding and move forward on the learning continuum.
Dedicated reflection gives students the time and space to identify how the material relates to their life as well as evaluate what they are doing well and where they have areas for growth. Reflection is not merely something that should occur at the end of a unit or course, but regularly throughout. This way students have the chance to make changes to how they are engaging with an e-learning program in the case they are not seeing their desired improvements.
By reflecting often and emphasizing its importance students will start to understand the role it plays in individual growth and begin to reflect without prompting in other areas of their lives.
Through application and reflection, students become more comfortable exercising their new skills and can receive feedback. After all, what good do online skills learning programs do if students are unable to engage in activities that allow them to consistently improve?
Pulling Together Elements of a Student-Centred Approach
Leaders of Evolution identifies how these key pieces fit together to achieve the overarching goals of a particular program through its Leadership Learning Cycle. This cycle is customized for each course and illustrates to educators how our student-centred approach connects students’ awareness of concepts to their development of skills and ultimately students’ application of these skills in their daily life.
If our goal in education, and at Leaders of Evolution, is to prepare students to be the leaders of the future, then what better way to get students on the path toward natural leadership than allowing them to lead first hand? By implementing a student-centred approach to learning, educators are empowering students to take control of their own education and do just that.
To learn more about implementing a student-centred approach at your school, email us at [email protected]
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Leaders of Evolution are passionate about education. We expertly design and deliver technology enhanced e-learning courses focused on leadership, social and emotional learning, career readiness and sports coaching for students, teachers, athletes, coaches and the wider community.