In most learning experiences, the trainer or instructor has all the control of what will be learned, how it will be taught, and what activities the learners will engage in to meet the objectives. A student-centered classroom takes the focus away from the teacher and puts it on the student. Similar to self-directed learning, student-centered learning allows learns to make decisions about their learning based on their own interests and curiosities.
Student-Centered Learning for Organizations
Student-Centered Learning is popular in the academic context, but it can also be applied to training and development. Here are a few ways organizations can create student-centered learning opportunities in instructor-led and virtual learning environments.
- Speak to your learners as individual people, not as a group. In training and development, student-centered learning means speaking to employees as individuals rather than as a group. Learning materials should engage learners on a personal and emotional level as this helps to create a personalized experience. Asking learners for their name in an online learning course and using it throughout is one way to create a personalized experience.
- Give learners a chance to reflect. Adult learners become more interested in learning things when they know how it relates to their jobs and personal lives. If the content is not relevant, it will not be given much attention. Creating scenario-based learning will help to enhance a learner’s understanding of the content’s relevance. Scenarios also give learners a chance to reflect on the information and their decision-making.
- The course is personalized to the learners. Autonomy is important to adult learners. Giving them options for how they can engage with information is important. If instructional designers follow the guides of Universal Design for Learning, they will inevitably create a course with which will give learners various options for engaging with the material.
- User-friendly navigation is a must. Navigation issues should never be a barrier to learning. Selecting the right learning management system is the first step in making sure that learners do not feel lost when they log in to their courses. Ensure that course instructions are easy to find and that all materials have been thoroughly tested for glitches. Likewise, in instructor-led training, trainers should be sure that instructions are clear and consistent to avoid confusion.
- Foster collaborative learning. Collaborative learning can include anything from working on projects as a group to social learning. Social learning is similar to on-the-job learning or job shadowing. Research shows that retention is improved by watching others perform a task or skill and then demonstrating the task or skill. Facilitating opportunities for learners to learn from each other will engage learners, enhance retention, and promote student-centered learning.
A student-centered approach typically calls for formative assessments let learners decide how they will demonstrate their understanding of the material. Letting learners develop their own assessment is important to learning, motivation, and the success of the student-centered approach.
To begin creating your own student-centered online learning, sign up for a demonstration of Mindflash. Request a demonstration of the Mindflash platform. Mindflash is a learning management system that includes content development software for creating personalized learning content.