Student-centric learning is one of the two major learning strategies adopted by administrators where the complete responsibility of teaching is in students\’ hands. Unlike the traditional method of teacher-centric learning, where a teacher delivers a standard curriculum in person and hence regulates the flow of information, student-centric learning helps build students\’ experiences and confidence.
The student-centered learning model allows students to actively participate in classroom activities, experiments, projects, assignments, and lessons and enhance their learning. Students get motivated and feel responsible towards themselves and their classes when they are treated as a guide for their learning. They develop team spirit and work together with each other. In a traditional classroom, students have a more passive role and have a predominance of teacher-centered learning practices. However, the teacher still plays an important role in guiding the students and giving instructions to the inside of being the main player of the field.
Teachers putting efforts to teach students could only help in understanding a particular thing and imparting surface learning. These methods are based on memorization and instruction, while student-centric methods focus on understanding and exploration.
Teacher-exposition being central, development of critical thinking is a challenge here. To gain knowledge and command, students must analyze what they already know and make sense of what is being taught to them. This is called constructing knowledge, and it enables students to think more widely and have a different perspective towards various things in life. In-class lectures, notes, projects, and role-plays are replaced by video lectures, graphics, and presentations to help students retain knowledge ultimately apply the learned concept to real-world situations.
The main goal is not just to clear the End-semester examination or 100% result for this year. Rather, it\’s more about quality education and base-building. This way empowers the students so they can be lifelong learners and feel comfortable in communicating with each other. This also provides freedom to students to have their voice and put forward their feedbacks.
Introducing a metacognitive learning model to students will help them strengthen their problem-solving ability. It comes with countless opportunities for learners to read, write, learn, understand, express, and reflect their ideas on their academic units. The major aim is to empower the learners to take responsibility for their learning process and free the instructors to create engaging learning content. The student-centered approach shifts the focus on e-learning strategies with more engaging and stimulating content, which could develop an interest in students so that they can actively participate in the learning process. Increased interest will lead to improved performance in class and foster teamwork as most of the activities are helpful in groups, and students can gain knowledge with others.
Active Learning and teaching strategies
● CO-Learning Practices
The best results will come out from the student-centric instructional model when teachers and students work collaboratively to bring a positive and community-driven learning environment. While teachers and students work together in learning, teachers should keep equal expectations from every student as lowering the expectation may result in low participation in class. Students should be taught that the best teachers are those who keep on learning rather than having knowledge about everything. Teachers can share about themselves while keeping it equally important to maintain discipline and not wasting big chunks of class time.
They can share their experiences related to what the class is studying and then encourage students to do the same. For example, instead of answering a question for students, tell the students to explain it to their peers. Students reciprocate what they see and learn, so teachers should always keep a positive attitude towards their negative feedbacks.
● Focus on student expertise
To involve more and more students in the class, instructors should focus on switching the position. Giving students the opportunities to share what they have expertise on. Now teachers can learn from students and feel confident about themselves. Think about the area students might have expertise in. Examples might be their culture, past experiences, their families, technology or software they use, or sports they play. Students should be given choices of topics to research and present that to the teacher; this way, they can explore the topics and have a deep and clear understanding of the concept. This can help teachers and students to better understand each other.
● Support Peer Learning & Interaction
Students enjoy learning when there\’s interaction with other students. Researches have shown the benefits of students working together, which include higher performance, greater engagement in class, higher grades, higher-order thinking, and confidence. In addition, peer learning and cooperative learning are significant aspects of a better student learning experience.
Should converse with each other in group activities or, if possible, be seated near each other to facilitate better interaction and peer learning. This will encourage a collaborative learning environment. Students should be taught the power of groups and work on collaborative skills. For example, they can work on a single project where everyone has a specific task to perform, and participation of everyone is ensured. Students who finish their work early should be asked to help others if needed. This will teach learners to be helpful and cooperative with others.
● Implementing Learner Autonomy
Learner Autonomy relates to practices when students control and responsibility for their learning process. This practice is used in the US educational structure to teach students how to be self-reliant. Students have to decide how to learn something new and make their assessments. There\’s a classroom discussion and one-to-one interaction with the teacher. E-leaning courses offer personalized learning where students who have a basic understanding will have supplementary materials, and that makes learning more effective and efficient. Studies have proved that autonomous and dynamic learners have the potential to learn far better than reactive learners. This concludes that students perform better when allowed to learn at their own time and pace.
Students should be encouraged to develop their material and then teach others as well. Promoting Peer feedbacks will also play an important role in keeping the discussion interactive and exciting. Learning is a lifelong process, and course materials are not all-knowing; knowledge can be acquired in different forms and is changeable, so students must not just depend upon the course, study materials, and teachers.
● Assessment Practices
In a student-centric learning model, students have the responsibility to evaluate their activities, performance and make judgments about their learning process; hence self-assessment is important for the students to make continuing progress. It\’s another tool for students to improve their perspective towards their capabilities and potential. It helps in confidence-building and provides the right direction to work in.
Teachers can share the best practices and teaching strategies while planning assessment as the assessment will provide them with the students\’ strengths and weaknesses. Assessments are also a key factor in management positions to identify improvement opportunities in all tasks being performed. It will act as a stimulus for growth and improvement.
Doing self-assessment helps an individual have a profound look at his attitude, skills, career paths, progress towards personal goals, challenges, and opportunities, among other factors that will help him diagnose the current weaknesses and prepare for the challenges in the future.
A classroom must be introduced to self-assessment and peer and class assessments. Peer assessment is a practice where students evaluate the assignments or work of their peers and give gradings on tests based on a teachers\’ benchmarks. In this way, students will learn how to examine the performance of others as well. As a result, learners become owners of the assessment process, thereby performing with better engagement and motivation. In addition, it improves metacognitive learning skills in peers and gives an insight into their approach to an assessment task in comparison to their peers. Hence, they can learn how to write, express, and perform in a better way. However, preparations and clear assessment criteria are essentials in this direction.
● Developing Intrinsic Motivation In Class
The class cooperates toward an atmosphere in which everyone is supported and appreciated by the others. As a result, all are open to challenges and develop the confidence to perform activities. Administrations and parents focus on providing extrinsic motivation to yield a better academic result. Here students are motivated to learn or achieve not by personal interest or desire for growth, but from a desire to please others by meeting expectations set by parents, teachers, or factors like the desired GPA. This certainly distances them from their inherent love of learning, and their performance might go down. Real motivation comes when students feel genuinely interested in the curriculum, and not just run after grades.
Extrinsic motivation is completely based upon rewards and punishments. Sometimes, it can be problematic because the sole reason for performing well is the rewards, and once rewards are removed, interests diminish entirely. In an ideal student-centric learning environment, the class strives to provide and promote intrinsic motivation to themselves, their peers, and their teachers.
Students here learn to gain mastery over a subject or just because they enjoy the process like an internal reward. Teachers can model enthusiasm and interest in subjects to get students excited to learn. Arranging activities and practical experiments or interesting assessments can boost students\’ interest, hence increasing participation in the metacognitive learning process. Rather than focusing exclusively on the cognitive outcomes such as test scores, it\’s essential to build enthusiasm for learning and empathy for others.
Challenges In Student-Centric Learning
Although student-centric metacognitive learning has many benefits and is an effective way to provide quality and meaningful education to the students that will help them throughout life like any other learning system, it also comes up with some challenges.
- There is no consistent method to measure learning in a student-centric model. Binary assessments do not always provide a clear idea about the skills and progress of an individual, and it\’s difficult to combine the formative assessments. Hence, parents and administration fail to encourage such activity as they couldn\’t continuously report a student\’s performance.
- Some students lack the interests and confidence to work in a cooperative learning environment. In addition, there are different natures of students in a class, and increased interaction sometimes results in conflict between the students, and they feel discomfort while working with others.
- Students lack the skills to express their feedback and ideas, can\’t approach teachers, and some show disciplinary problems while engaging in student-centric active learning techniques. Individualized student-centric classroom management techniques could be implemented to ensure individual growth.
While having all these challenges, it\’s not a good idea to shift back into the traditional ways of teacher-centric learning, such as using classroom-wide behavior management systems or following scripted lessons as they are not effective ways to meet the needs of individual students.