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Thursday, 14 February 2013

Module One - What is learner centred learning?

Some questions you may wish to consider as you share your thinking include:
What approaches to learning occur in your own area of practise?
What is the role of the 'teacher' in your area?
Who are your learners and what are their expectations of you?

I see learner centred learning as an intrinsic behaviour that is self driven with the learner doing the thinking.  A skill that can be fine tuned and directed by the facilitator but involves the learner doing the work, wanting to achieve and having a well structured programme with clear guidelines to follow.

Teacher centred involves the teacher doing much of the work and has the knowledge or power.  A pour and store system with the control belonging to the teacher.  This method relies on the learner being self motivated enough to take the instruction given by the teacher, make sense of it and explore it in depth, which often doesn't happen because,depending on the type of grades being offered, there isn't the motivation to do well (pass/not pass).

What approaches to learning occur in your own area of practise?
The papers offered in the certificate and diploma programmes on the Travel and Tourism courses have a level of application that has to be under-taken.  There are many opportunities provided to encourage individual learning;
  • Diagnostic testing to understand individual learning styles
  • Computer research, not ideal for engaging discussion
  • Group and individual work/assessments
  • Portfolio's
  • Teacher led in the initial stages
  • Hands on /role plays
  • Simulated/realistic work scenario's

What is the role of the 'teacher' in your area?
Trying to be instructor, facilitator, counsellor, career's adviser and generally giving the learner many opportunities to learn, link, reflect and consolidate their experiences into concrete contexts which can be applied in the work place.
I find that after every class there is a process of self- reflection that happens and adjustments are made to improve or change the lesson plan to suit their needs of the individual learner.  So initially the learning is teacher led (planned learning), offering direction, encouragement and support to promote their own learning (emerging learning) and finally they take control over the process (self discovery).

This links with the flexible learning paper I completed last year and a plan I put in place to encourage flexibility within my teaching style and the way the student approached their learning. It also fits with the OP Annual Strategic Plan (2012)

Link to flexible learning draft plan

Who are your learners and what are their expectations of you?
I think this comes down to the culture of learning that they have been used to, many of our learners have come straight from school and will expect a similar environment, so it is important to set clear goals and expectations from the start and create a culture of learning that is different.  We are all very resilient and adaptable to different teaching styles and at certificate level sometimes the unconscious expectation is that the programme will be teacher led and the learning will be surface, having to do just enough to pass. 
Just some random thoughts to get the ball rolling..........

1 comment:

  1. Hi Helen
    I love your descriptions of learner centred and teacher centred approaches, especially the metaphor of store and pour for a teacher centred approach leaving the learner to gain the information for themselves. Often with the learner centred approach because the responsibility for learning sits with the learner, can be perceived as gaining the information for themselves as well but the difference lies in the support and guidance offered with a learner centred approach.

    You provided a wonderful description of how a learner can progress from a directed approach through to a self discovery mode in a manner that is well supported.

    You have raised a very important point about setting the expectations right from the start as this helps both setting the direction but also provides the opportunity to clarify any conflicting expectations.

    You are off to a wonderful start Helen. well done.

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