Traditionally, instructors only focus on what they are teaching, but not on what the students are learning. This misplaced emphasis often leads to students who become passive learners and who do not take initiatives to learn. Educators call this traditional method “Instructor-Centered Teaching”. In contrast, “Learner-Centered Teaching” occurs when instructors focus on student learning.


























Why Learner-Centered Teaching Approach?

1. Learn MORE effectively. Research on knowledge base shows that what a person already   knows determines how he organizes and represents new information, how he filters new experiences, and even what he determines to be important or relevant. (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)1


2. Better strategic processing and executive control. The ability to reflect on and regulate one’s thoughts and behaviors is an essential aspect of learning. Successful students are actively involved in their own learning, monitor their thinking, think about their learning, and assume responsibility for their own learning (Lambert & McCombs, 2000)2


3. Increase motivation and affect. Research shows that personal involvement, intrinsic motivation, personal commitment, confidence in one’s abilities to succeed, and a perception of control over learning lead to more learning and higher achievement in school. (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)1

4. Acknowledge development and individual differences. Depending on the context or task, changes in how people think, believe, or behave are dependent on a combination of one’s inherited abilities, stages of development, individual differences, capabilities, experiences, and environmental conditions. (Alexander & Murphy, 2000)1

5. Based on situation or context. Learning is a social process. Many environmental factors including how the instructor teaches, and how actively engaged the student is in the learning process positively or negatively influence how much and what students learn (Lambert & McCombs, 2000)2. In comparison, studies between students in lecture and active learning courses, there are significantly more learning gains in the active learning courses (Phyllis Blumberg, 2008).3



A Learner-Centered Teaching Model

4Weimer. M (2002) described five learner-centered practice areas that need to change to achieve learner-centered teaching:


1. The Function of Content : to build a strong knowledge foundation and to develop learning skills and learner self-awareness.


2. The Role of the Instructor: to be facilitative rather than didactic


3. The Responsibility for Learning: to shift from the instructor to the students. To create learning environments that motivate students to accept responsibility for learning.


4. The Processes and Purposes of Assessment: to shift from only assigning grades to including constructive feedback and assisting with improvement.


5. The Balance of Power. To collaborate with students on course policies and procedures.

Citations for additional references referred to on this site:

1Alexander, P., & Murphy, P. (2000). The research base for APA's leaner-centered psychological principles. In N. Lambert, & B. McCombs (Eds.), How students learn (pp. 25-60). Washington, D.D.: American Psychological Association

2Lambert, N., & McCombs, B. (2000). Introduction: Learner-centered schools and classrooms as a direction for school reform. In N. Lambert, & B. McCombs (Eds.), How students learn (pp. 1-15). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association

3Phyllis Blumberg, Ph.D. (2008). Learner-Centered Teaching. University of the Science in Philadelphia

4Weimer, M. (2002). Learner-centered teaching: Five Key Changes to Practice. San Francisco, C.A: Jossey-Bass

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