Learner Centered Teaching

The one who does the work does the learning.

Way back in November of 2011, several members of our instructional design team attended a workshop run by Terry Doyle, the author of a book by this name – Learning Centered Teaching: Putting the Research into Practice. He has a blog too http://learnercenteredteaching.wordpress.com/, which claims to be the Largest Resource for Learner Centered Teaching on the Web.

The question everyone asks, and rightly so, is why should teachers change to a learner centered approach to instruction? The answer is actually very simple. Fifteen years of neuroscience, biology and cognitive psychology research findings on how humans learn offer this powerful and singular conclusion: “It is the one who does the work who does the learning” (Doyle, 2008). This conclusion strongly suggests that the traditional model of teacher centered instruction, where teachers do a lot of the work, is less effective and can be detrimental to students’ learning. Therefore, a new approach is needed that gets the students to do most of the learning work and that approach is learner centered teaching. (from Learning Centered Teaching: Putting the Research into Practice)

After the conference, I read Terry Doyle’s book. Here’s why you should too. I wrote about the book on  my blog and want to share the links here.

  1. The book and Doyle’s associated blog include a lot of research supporting Learner Centered Teaching. He pointed out in his talk that it’s unethical to teach in a way that ignores new findings about how learning occurs. So, first, read about the research.
  2. Next, he offers strategies for teachers to let students do the work.
  3. This is followed by a chapter on authentic learning.
  4. And, the importance of regular feedback.
  5. Getting to know your students is the next area he considers.
  6. Sharing control and giving your students choices is an important aspect of learner centered teaching.
  7. Facilitating discussions follows.
  8. Teaching to all the senses, including consideration of nutrition, exercise, and more is an interesting part of a book on teaching and learning.
  9. Patterns are everywhere and getting students to find them is considered next.
  10. Repetition and elaboration – What helps memory of important information?


You can watch Terry Doyle discuss his book on these videos.

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