Student-centered learning is a popular next-generation concept, and for good reason. It’s an approach that recognizes we all learn differently, and it’s about empowering students to become savvy pilots of their own learning endeavors. What’s not to like?
But as with world peace, being “for” it is the easy part. The devil is always in the details. If you’re a student, you may discover that student-centered learning is…well, hard work. With freedom comes responsibility, and accountability, and you may find yourself wondering…
Who’s driving this bus, anyway?
On the bus called “your education,” you probably feel like just a passenger—sometimes you’re not paying attention, you’re just staring out the window, absorbing everything that goes by. But if you could take the driver’s seat, you would, wouldn’t you?
Hop on up there! Once you’re there, you might wonder: Where do I go now? What if I take a wrong turn? What if I get tired and need to pull over for a nap?
Effective learning can be—arguably should be—a messy and troublesome business. You will encounter setbacks. You will also push through obstacles, meet challenges, and otherwise grow. No matter how many times you stop the bus (or even if you crash it), what’s important is that you put it back in gear and keep driving.
Some help here, please!
Don’t worry, you aren’t driving alone. You’ll get help. Lots of it. From instructors, coaches, mentors, peers. And a veritable toolbox of resources. You may even be surprised to discovered everything you need is right there on the bus with you!
The secret to success is accessing and utilizing this help. Your relationship to it (and to your success), is largely determined by being able to look at the rearview mirror to confront who you are as a learner: your goals, your habits, your history.
For many students, this relationship can be built upon a learning relationship management (LRM) system. An LRM goes beyond the course/instructor-focus of the traditional education systems to provide a comprehensive, data-driven environment for defining, evaluating, and optimizing each student’s relationship to the many elements of the learning experience:
- Curriculum. LRM lets students build personalized learning paths through informed choices about objectives, pace, and preferred styles of content delivery and tasks; it provides flexible support for competency-based education (CBE) programs and other alternatives to traditional credit hours and seat time.
- Educators. With LRM, educators leverage sophisticated data and communication tools to help students stay on track, monitoring key indicators and identifying learning patterns so students receive timely evaluation, guidance, and intervention.
- Peers and mentors. LRM also provides a moderated environment where students can connect with others based on interests and goals, so they’re able to build meaningful networks for collaboration, guidance, and community participation.
- Self. A key component of LRM is giving students mission-control management of their own learning paths; students can view detailed progress breakdowns and feedback-rich assessments, and they also have powerful tools for content creation, self-evaluation, and showcasing accomplishments.
No matter your age, background, or circumstance, your education belongs to you and no one else. So climb aboard and start the engine—you can go anywhere if you bring along the right team. Just keep driving.