Student-Centered Learning - European Students ...

 
Student-Centered Learning - European Students ...
TIME FOR A NEW PARADIGM IN EDUCATION:
  STUDENT-CENTRED LEARNING

    Student-Centered
    Learning
SCL	Toolkit

  You cannot teach a man anything. You can only help him discover it with-
  in himself.
  Galileo Galilei

  It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irrev-
  erence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to
  question it.
  Jacob Bronowski

                                                  The European
                                                Students’ Union
Student-Centered Learning - European Students ...
Imprint

Student-Centered Learning Toolkit

Content                                             Design & Typesetting
   Angele Attard, Emma Di Iorio, Koen Geven,           Linus Rowedda
   Robert Santa
                                                    Image credits
Editing and Proofreading
   Angele Attard
                                                    Printing
Supported by the T4SCL Project Steering
                                                       #
Group
                                                    Printed on …
   Ligia Deca, European Students’ Union
   Monique Fouilhoux, Education Interna-
   tional
   Olav Øye, European Students’ Union
   Milica Popovic, Education International
   Robert Santa, European Students’ Union
   Natalia Tarachiu, European Students’ Union
   Bert Vandenkendelaere, European
   Students’ Union
   Milica Popovic, Education International
With the guidance of the International
Advisory Board
   Prof. Lee Harvey, Copenhagen Business
   School, Denmark
   Dr. Sybille Reichert, Ph.D, Higher Education
   Consultant
   Prof. Jussi Välimaa, Institute for Educational
   Research, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
   Prof. Kirsten Hofgaard Lycke, Faculty of
   Education, University of Oslo, Norway

                                                    This publication is part of the project »Time
                                                    for a New Paradigm in Education: Student
                                                    Centered Learning«, funded with support
                                                    from the European Commission.
                                                    This publication reflects the views only of
                                                    the authors, and the Commission cannot be
                                                    held responsible for any use which may be
                                                    made of the information contained therein.
Student-Centered Learning - European Students ...
Table of Content

1 Principles and Definition . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                             1

2 The Benefits . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 6

3 An SCL Checklist . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .               11

4 Changing the Mindset . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .                          15

5 Implementation by Teachers . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 27

6 Implementation by Institutions . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 37

7 Maintaining a Culture of SCL . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 46

8 Common Misconceptions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54

9 SCL and the Bologna Process . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 57

10 Source: Dublin College University . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 61

11 Sources for further Reading . .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  . 66
ABBREVIATIONS

EACEA   Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency
ECTS    European Credit Transfer System
EI      Education International
ESU     European Students’ Union
LLL     Lifelong Learning
LLP     Lifelong Learning Programme (European Commission)
PBL     Problem-Based Learning
RPL     Recognition of Prior Learning
SCL     Student-Centred Learning
T4SCL   Time for a New Paradigm in Education: Student-Centred Learning
        (Joint EI-ESU Project)
1         Principles and Definition

1.1       Introduction
              This Toolkit forms part of the project    to provide concrete policy input—dur-
          entitled Time for a New Paradigm in           ing and beyond the project lifetime—
          Education: Student-Centred Learning           to ongoing discussions as to the future
          (t4scl), jointly led by the European Stu-     of the EU Education & Training Pro-
          dents’ Union (esu) and Education In-          gramme and the next phase of the Bolo-
          ternational (ei).This is an EU-fund-          gna Process.
          ed project under the Lifelong Learning            Following on from the initial desk re-
          Programme (llp) administered by the           search and survey undertaken with both
          Education, Audiovisual and Culture Ex-        ei and esu member organisations (high-
          ecutive Agency (eacea).                       er education staff unions and national
                                t4scl, as a pioneer     student unions respectively), published
SLC is practical and        initiative, aims to as-     in May 2010, this toolkit is one of the
achievable, as well as      sist policy makers in de-   last initiatives, marking the end phase of
being highly beneficial signing sound student-          the project. It represents a key outcome
for learners.               centred learning (scl)      of the project. This toolkit follows ex-
                            strategies and approach-    tensive research and a series of events at
          es and to increase the capacity of stu-       both European and national levels, com-
          dent and staff representative organisa-       bined with trainings on the subject-mat-
          tions to be active partners in spreading a    ter.
          culture of scl in higher education insti-         This toolkit is designed for effective,
          tutions across Europe. The project aims       practical implementation of scl by teach-
          to provide comprehensive insight into         ing staff, students and institutional leaders.
          the necessary tools, challenges and suc-      It aims to show how practical and achiev-
          cess stories of scl as a fundamental basis    able scl is, as well as being highly benefi-
          for lifelong learning (lll). It also aims     cial for learners.

          Principles and Definition                                                                 1
1.2   The Concept of SCL
          scl was credited to Hayward as ear-        Mutual respect within the learner-
                                                    qq
      ly as 1905 and to Dewey’s work in 1956.        teacher relationship; and
      Carl Rogers was then associated with ex-       A reflexive approach to the teaching
                                                    qq
      panding this approach into a theory of         and learning process on the part of
      education in the 1980s and this learning       both the teacher and the learner.
      approach has also been associated with
      the work of Piaget (developmental learn-          scl is broadly based on constructiv-
      ing) and Malcolm Knowles (self-direct-        ism as a theory of learning, which is built
      ed learning). Some of the scl literature      on the idea that learners must construct
      can be summarised into the following el-      and reconstruct knowledge in order to
      ements (cf. Lea et al, 2003):                 learn effectively, with learning being
                                                    most effective when, as part of an activi-
       The reliance on active rather than pas-
      qq                                            ty, the learner experiences constructing
       sive learning;                               a meaningful product. scl is also akin
       An emphasis on deep learning and un-
      qq                                            to transformative learning which contem-
       derstanding;                                 plates a process of qualitative change
       Increased responsibility and accounta-
      qq                                            in the learner as an ongoing process of
       bility on the part of the student;           transformation which focuses on en-
       An increased sense of autonomy in the
      qq                                            hancing and empowering the learner,
       learner;                                     developing their critical ability.
       An interdependence between teacher
      qq
       and learner;

1.3   Principles Underlying SCL
         On the basis of an examination of the      put forward a clearer understanding and
      theory behind scl and following an in-        debate about the topic.
      tensive discussion with teachers and stu-
      dents on what they consider scl to be,            Principle I: scl requires an Ongoing
      which took place at the launching con-        Reflexive Process. Part of the underlying
      ference of the t4scl Project—Time for         philosophy of scl is that no one context
      a New Paradigm in Education: Student-         can have one scl style that can remain
      Centred Learning—in Bucharest, Roma-          applicable through time. The philoso-
      nia in May 2010, below is a list of general   phy of scl is such that teachers, students
      principles underlying scl. These princi-      and institutions need to continuously re-
      ples do not aim to form a comprehensive       flect of their teaching, learning and in-
      picture of what scl is about. Rather they     frastructural systems in such a way that

2
             Student centered learning
             time for a paradigm change
would continuously improve the learn-           of choice. Learning can be organised in
ing experience of students and ensure           liberal formats, such as at colleges of lib-
that the intended learning outcomes of a        eral arts or choice can be offered in a
given course or programme component             more traditional, disciplinary style.
are achieved in a way that stimulates               Principle VI: Students have Dif-
learners’ critical thinking and transfer-       ferent Experiences and Background
able skills.                                    Knowledge. Learning needs to be adapt-
    Principle II: scl does not have a           ed to the life and professional experi-
›One-Size-Fits-All‹ Solution. A key             ence of the individual concerned. For
concept underlying scl is the realisa-          instance, if students already have con-
tion that all higher education institu-         siderable experience in using itc, there
tions are different, all teachers are differ-   is no point in trying to teach them the
ent and all students are different. These       same thing again; if they already have
all operate in very diverse contexts and        considerable research skills, perhaps it
deal with various subject-disciplines.          would be better to help them in theo-
Therefore scl is a learning approach that       ry. Personal experience can also be used
requires learning support structures            to motivate students, for instance, by al-
which are appropriate to each given con-        lowing students to share a personal story
text and teaching and learning styles ap-       to illustrate a point.
propriate to those undertaking them.                Principle VII: Students should have
    Principle III: Students have Dif-           Control Over their Learning. Students
ferent Learning Styles. scl recognises          should be given the opportunity to be
that students have different pedagogical        involved in the design of courses, cur-
needs. Some learn better through tri-           ricula and their evaluation. Students
al and error, others learn through practi-      should be seen as active partners who
cal experience. For some learners much          have a stake in the way that higher edu-
is learned by reading literature, others        cation functions. The best way to ensure
need to debate and discuss theory in or-        that learning focuses more on students
der to understand it.                           is by engaging students themselves in
    Principle IV: Students have Differ-         how their learning should be shaped.
ent Needs and Interests. All students               Principle VIII: scl is about ›Ena-
have needs that extend beyond the class-        bling‹ not ›Telling‹. In simply impart-
room. Some are interested in cultural ac-       ing facts and knowledge to students
tivities, others in sports or in represent-     (telling) the initiative, preparation and
ative organisations. Students can have          content comes mainly from the teach-
children or can be faced with psycholog-        er. The scl approach aims to give the
ical conditions, illness or disability.         student greater responsibility enabling
    Principle V: Choice is Central to Ef-       the student to think, process, analyse,
fective Learning in scl. Students like to       synthesise, criticise, apply, solve prob-
learn different things and hence any of-        lems, etc.
fer should involve a reasonable amount

Principles and Definition                                                                 3
Principle IX: Learning needs Coop-         might work for both groups. In the class-
      eration between Students and Staff. It         room, such cooperation will have a posi-
      is important that students and staff co-       tive effect as the two groups increasingly
      operate to develop a shared understand-        come to consider each other as partners.
      ing both of the problems experienced           Such a partnership is central to the phi-
      in learning, as well as their problems as      losophy of scl which sees learning as
      stakeholders within their given insti-         taking place in a constructive interac-
      tution, jointly proposing solutions that       tion between the two groups.

1.4   A Workable Definition of SCL
          scl remains a debated concept with          A relationship of mutual assertive-
                                                     qq
      no one clear definition available, since        ness between students and teach-
      multiple interpretations co-exist which         ers; and
      exclude each other. Nonetheless, this           A focus on learning outcomes which
                                                     qq
      section will try to circumvent this is-         enable genuine learning and deep un-
      sue by arriving at a workable definition        derstanding.
      of scl.
          It is interesting first to consider what      On the basis of all of the above and of
      participants at the launching conference       the practical suggestions put forward be-
      of the t4scl Project considered as be-         low, this toolkit is proposing the follow-
      ing integral components of scl. These          ing definition of scl:
      include:
                                                      »Student-Centred Learning represents
       Flexibility and freedom in terms of
      qq                                              both a mindset and a culture within a
       the time and structure of learning;            given higher education institution and
       More and better quality teachers who
      qq                                              is a learning approach which is broadly
       strive to share their knowledge;               related to, and supported by, construc-
       A clear understanding of students by
      qq                                              tivist theories of learning. It is charac-
       teachers;                                      terised by innovative methods of teach-
       A flat hierarchy within higher educa-
      qq                                              ing which aim to promote learning in
       tion institutions;                             communication with teachers and other
       Teacher responsibility for student
      qq                                              learners and which take students seri-
       empowerment;                                   ously as active participants in their own
       A continuous ongoing improvement
      qq                                              learning, fostering transferable skills
       process;                                       such as problem-solving, critical think-
       A positive attitude by teachers and
      qq                                              ing and reflective thinking.«
       students with the aim of improving
       the learning experience;

4
             Student centered learning
             time for a paradigm change
With this definition serving as a use-   the benefits that this learning approach
ful starting point, this toolkit will now    produces and the key characteristics
move on to suggest practical ways in         which are necessary in order for an in-
which scl can be implemented in a            stitution to assess whether the scl ap-
meaningful manner, keeping in mind           proach is being applied by it.

Principles and Definition                                                               5
2     The Benefits

2.1   Introduction
         scl, if implemented properly, offers       Europe—the financial situation, massi-
      benefits to all, including the institution,   fication of higher education and a high
      students and staff involved, higher ed-       workload for teaching staff—there are
      ucation staff unions, students’ unions        many benefits to be reaped by imple-
      and society as a whole. Given the cur-        menting the scl approach.
      rent context of higher education across

2.2   Benefits For Students
         The benefits of scl for the students       lier on. In this context, research-led
      involved are many and varied. Com-            teaching becomes all the more possi-
      ing into an academic community possi-         ble. Teachers are able to discuss their re-
      bly for the first time can shape the way      search and hear the views of students on
      students think for the rest of their lives.   the matter. Increased cooperation and a
      scl provides skills for life, creates inde-   feeling of having one’s views valued can
      pendent learners and responds to the          further increase the interaction and en-
      changing and differing needs of individ-      gagement of students. This can lead to
      ual students. Below is a list of what such    participation in the development of re-
      benefits can include:                         search and also to help develop a giv-
                                                    en course, due to the sense of ownership
          Making Students an Integral Part          that students feel. Lastly, it may also en-
      of the Academic Community: Students           courage more students to enter the aca-
      are said to be part of the academic com-      demic community as members. We must
      munity, but in practice this can be diffi-    not forget that students are the teachers
      cult to achieve due to varied practices of    of the future!
      rigid teaching structures. Via scl, stu-          An Increased Motivation to Learn:
      dents can become part of that commu-          scl can encourage deeper learning, as
      nity much earlier, given that the teach-      shown in the Learning Pyramid below.
      er acts as a facilitator, rather than an      Knowledge retention differs depending
      instructor. In encouraging students to        on the way in which material is learned,
      think for themselves, analytical skills       but all types of active learning show a
      and critical thinking are gained ear-         higher retention rate than traditional

6
             Student centered learning
             time for a paradigm change
fig. 1 Learning Pyramid
       Source: National Training Laboratories, Bethel, Maine

                            average student
                            retention rates                                Lecturing

                                        10%                                Reading

                                  20%                                      Audiovisual

                            30%                                            Demonstration

                      50%                                                  Discussion

                75%                                                        Practical doing

          90%                                                              Teach others

      forms of learning. The student is also of-   tion, prioritisation of tasks and critical
      ten more motivated to learn through scl,     analysis. In turn, students can devel-
      because the tasks set require original       op transferable skills and would be able
      thought and increase interest in the sub-    to work more effectively in their careers
      ject-matter. As the Learning Pyramid         and lives in general.
      below suggests, students retain more of          Due Consideration for Student
      the information they learn where there       Needs: Massification of higher educa-
      is an aspect of active learning and active   tion has had the effect of diversifying the
      participation.                               student body. Inevitably students have
          Independence and Responsibili-           differing needs that are wider than ever
      ty in Learning: Within scl, students         before. scl can enable students to study
      must engage with the course material         in a flexible manner, through the use of
      and are in control of their learning. This   part-time study, distance learning and
      makes the student more independent           e-learning. The scl approach demon-
      and adaptable to life after higher educa-    strates that learning is not limited to a
      tion. The independence of students en-       given time or place in the way that tradi-
      ables them to learn more effectively and     tional learning has been. Different learn-
      to gain other skills such as teamwork, ef-   ing needs of students can also be met
      fective written and verbal communica-        because students can engage with ma-

      The Benefits                                                                           7
terials in different ways. For example,       reading. Furthermore, by experiencing a
      some students engage more with audi-          range of teaching methods students are
      ovisual materials whereas others prefer       further challenged academically.

2.3   Benefits for Teachers
          Whilst the benefits of scl for stu-          Continuous Self-Improvement: scl
      dents seem obvious, some may question         can enable teachers to review and de-
      whether this is also the case for teach-      velop their courses and teaching meth-
      ing staff. Indeed, teachers can benefit       ods so as to improve both the content of
      from scl as much as the students in their     their courses and their method of deliv-
      classes. Below is a list of what such bene-   ery as teachers. The confidence gained
      fits can include:                             from implementing the scl approach is
                                                    also measurable in that teachers obtain
          A More Interesting Role for the           relevant and constructive feedback from
      Teacher: scl, as stated above, puts the       more highly-engaged students.
      onus on the student to learn. The teach-         Increased Learner Motivation and
      er is there to facilitate and enable this.    Engagement: Increased engagement by
      Whilst this might be seen by some as          students and a higher level of student
      negative, it is a good opportunity to aca-    participation makes the job of teach-
      demically challenge students, in order to     ing more interesting. The ability to bring
      enhance their learning.                       new research into tutorials or classes be-
          Solutions to Tackling Massification       comes a reality in scl. This sounding
      and Diversity: In a reality of massifica-     board of ideas can contribute to the re-
      tion in higher education and a more di-       search of the teacher and introduces stu-
      versified student body, it is likely that     dents to research and the academic com-
      scl will have to be used in many cas-         munity at an early stage in their learning
      es because of the increased demands           process.
      of quality from students, the increased          Professional Development for
      costs of higher education associated          Academia: scl can offer a much higher
      with this and the diversity of the student    level of professional development with
      body, meaning student needs are varied.       regards to the development of knowl-
          Positive Impact on Working Condi-         edge, skills and competences relevant
      tions: Given that scl provides the op-        both for personal development and ca-
      portunity for learning to take place in       reer advancement. It also enhances
      different ways, the work of a teacher can     teachers’ flexibility in designing ways of
      be more interesting and the negative as-      running a course or a programme com-
      pects of the working conditions normal-       ponent and in applying new ways of
      ly associated with teaching can be allevi-    teaching or research.
      ated by scl.

8
             Student centered learning
             time for a paradigm change
2.4   The Wider Benefits of SCL
          Collectively both teaching staff and      reflective thinkers and who are able to
      students have an interest in, and benefit     drive development forward in their giv-
      from, scl. This produces cross-over and       en society. Below is a list of what such
      benefits for their representative organi-     benefits can include:
      sations. Below is a list of what such bene-
      fits can include:                                 Better Retention Rates in Higher Ed-
                                                    ucation: Where institutions employ the
          Quality Enhancement: Any increase         scl approach, there tends to be a low-
      in the quality of both working condi-         er number of students who choose not
      tions and the student academic experi-        to complete their studies. This may be
      ence is to be welcomed by both teachers’      due to the flexibility within such courses
      and students’ unions.                         and may also be due to the fact that, via
          The Status of the Teaching Profes-        scl, students engage with their studies
      sion: Given the trend in institutions         more than within traditional methods of
      to focus on research, the status of the       instruction. Indeed, students feel more
      teaching profession can only be im-           valued when learning within an scl en-
      proved with the adoption of the scl ap-       vironment because their learning needs
      proach. scl takes into account innova-        are paramount. In a climate of massifi-
      tion and allows teachers to develop their     cation, formalisation and anonymisa-
      courses in the way they wish, whilst al-      tion of higher education, this can only
      lowing students the flexibility to develop    be welcomed.
      in their own ways.                                Attracting Students: Where students’
          Increased Representation in Govern-       learning needs are carefully considered,
      ance Structures: Given that scl in and        teaching will be seen as being of high-
      of itself requires a higher level of coop-    er quality. Meeting student expectations
      eration between all institutional levels,     and managing them is of paramount im-
      it pre-supposes that the hierarchy with-      portance. Furthermore, many aspects of
      in higher education institutions is rather    scl can be implemented without cost-
      flat. scl therefore favours a more collab-    ly measures and can make institutions
      orative approach within institutions, al-     which apply this approach much more
      lowing for more representation of both        attractive to potential students, also at-
      students and staff within the relevant        tracting more mobility into the region in
      governance structures.                        which the institution is found, thus ben-
                                                    efitting also the development of society.
         scl also produces benefits both to             An Ongoing Improvement Proc-
      institutions in which the learning ap-        ess: The ability of institutions to eval-
      proach is being applied as well as to so-     uate their courses and the student aca-
      ciety, which is a key beneficiary of grad-    demic experience as a whole mean that
      uates who are innovative, critical and        they produce better graduates. The main

      The Benefits                                                                             9
benefit to society as a whole is that such   themselves and are likely to be more
     graduates are more analytical and bet-       practical and logical, with an ability to
     ter citizens as a result of them having to   tackle all sorts of problems as an when
     think for themselves throughout their        they arise, turning this into a learning
     higher education studies.                    experience. scl can give graduates skills
                                                  for lifelong learning, making them more
        Fostering a Lifelong Learning Cul-        effective in their place of work and ena-
     ture: Students who have experienced          bling them to contribute extensively to
     scl are likely to learn more lessons by      the society in which they live.

10
            Student centered learning
            time for a paradigm change
3   An SCL Checklist

       This chapter of the toolkit provides         change happen in order to move to-
    an indicative checklist of what may be          wards applying the scl approach.
    required in terms of successful imple-         If, on the other hand, one finds that
    mentation of the scl approach:                  many of the elements mentioned be-
                                                    low are present in their home insti-
     If one finds that in their home institu-      tution, it is an indication that the in-
      tion none or few of the elements men-         stitution is on the right track, but it
      tioned below are present, then the            would be useful to consult the subse-
      subsequent chapters will be useful            quent chapters in any case, being that
      in helping to identify the manner in          scl in and of itself teaches us to keep
      which scl can be applied. In partic-          seeking to improve on current appli-
      ular, Chapter 4 looks at how to make          cable methods.

    1. Consultation with Students [Tick as Appropriate]                         Yes   No

           Are there transparent procedures in place for students to be
     1.1                                                                         ❍     ❍
           able give feedback on the quality of the educational process?
     1.2   Are students consulted on curriculum content?                         ❍     ❍
           Are students consulted on the teaching and evaluation meth-
     1.3                                                                         ❍     ❍
           ods used?
     1.4   Are students involved in periodic programme quality reviews?          ❍     ❍
           Are students involved as full and equal members in commit-
     1.5   tees where issues relating to the student experience are dis-         ❍     ❍
           cussed at all levels (e.g. department, faculty, university, etc.)?
           Are straightforward procedures in place for students to ap-
     1.6   peal decisions regarding their academic attainment or pro-            ❍     ❍
           gression?

    An SCL Checklist                                                                     11
2. ECTS (European Credit Transfer System) and Learning Out-
                                                                                Yes   No
     comes [Tick as Appropriate]

           Are students consulted when learning outcomes are de-
     2.1                                                                         ❍    ❍
           signed?
           Are student needs and the diversity of the relevant student
     2.2                                                                         ❍    ❍
           group considered when designing learning outcomes?
           Are students informed on the intended learning outcomes
     2.3                                                                         ❍    ❍
           before they start a course or programme component?
           Are ECTS credits used co-related with defined learning out-
     2.4                                                                         ❍    ❍
           comes?
     2.5   Are credits transferable between courses and institutions?            ❍    ❍
           Are credits measured based on student workload, independ-
     2.6                                                                         ❍    ❍
           ent of contact hours?
           Are students awarded credits for activities that help them at-
     2.7   tain intended learning outcomes if conducted outside the in-          ❍    ❍
           stitution?
           Does your institution refer its qualifications to a Qualifications
     2.8                                                                         ❍    ❍
           Framework?

     3. Quality Assurance [Tick as Appropriate]                                 Yes   No

           Are both staff and students consulted during the institutional
     3.1                                                                         ❍    ❍
           quality assurance process?
           Are both representatives of teachers and students involved as
     3.2   full and equal members in the panels undertaking institution-         ❍    ❍
           al quality assurance reviews?
           Do institutional quality assurance reviews and guidelines take
     3.3                                                                         ❍    ❍
           into account the overall elements of teaching and learning?
           Do programme quality reviews take into account the use of
     3.4                                                                         ❍    ❍
           learning outcomes?
           Do programme quality reviews take into account the assess-
     3.5                                                                         ❍    ❍
           ment methods used?
           Do external quality assurance evaluations refer to the teach-
     3.6                                                                         ❍    ❍
           ing and learning process?

12
           Student centered learning
           time for a paradigm change
4. Mobility, Recognition and Prior Learning [Tick as Appropriate]       Yes   No

      Are study periods conducted by students in other institutions
4.1   within various mobility schemes recognised by your institu-        ❍    ❍
      tion?
      Do incoming mobile students at your institution benefit from
4.2   support in order to be able to cope with their new cultural        ❍    ❍
      and linguistic environment?
      Are examples of good practice in teaching and learning that
4.3   mobile staff come into contact with discussed and dissemi-         ❍    ❍
      nated at the institutional level?
      Is prior learning (in non-formal learning environments) recog-
4.4   nised by your institution for the purpose of access into educa-    ❍    ❍
      tional programmes?
4.5   Is the process of recognition of prior learning difficult?         ❍    ❍
      Does the recognition of prior learning involve significant
4.6                                                                      ❍    ❍
      costs or bureaucracy?

5. The Social Dimension [Tick as Appropriate]                           Yes   No

      Are special support measures in place in order to help stu-
5.1                                                                      ❍    ❍
      dents from disadvantaged backgrounds?
      Are learning paths flexible enough so as to permit combining
5.2                                                                      ❍    ❍
      work/family-life and studies?

6. Teaching and Learning Methods [Tick as Appropriate]                  Yes   No

6.1   Does your institution use peer assessment and peer learning?       ❍    ❍
      Does your institution have programmes for which it uses ac-
6.2                                                                      ❍    ❍
      tivity-based learning?
      Is group-work used in the learning process within your insti-
6.3                                                                      ❍    ❍
      tution?
      Are extra-curricular activities of students accepted and recog-
6.4                                                                      ❍    ❍
      nised as an essential part of the learning experience?
      Is the development of transversal skills by students one of the
6.5                                                                      ❍    ❍
      objectives of the learning process in your institution?

An SCL Checklist                                                               13
7. Student Assessment Methods [Tick as Appropriate]                     Yes   No

           Are the goals of the learning process agreed upon between
     7.1                                                                      ❍    ❍
           teachers and students?
           Are peer- and self-assessment used as a method in the stu-
     7.2                                                                      ❍    ❍
           dent assessment process?
     7.3   Are projects used in the assessment of students?                   ❍    ❍
           Are simulations of tasks and ›real life‹ situations used in the
     7.4                                                                      ❍    ❍
           assessment of students?

     8. Learning Environment [Tick as Appropriate]                           Yes   No

           Do students have access to appropriate research and study
     8.1                                                                      ❍    ❍
           facilities both on and off campus?
     8.2   Is information technology used within the learning process?        ❍    ❍
           Do librarians collaborate with teachers in order to enhance
     8.3                                                                      ❍    ❍
           students’ learning experience?
           Does you institution contribute to promoting a national/re-
     8.4                                                                      ❍    ❍
           gional culture of SCL?

     9. Professional Academic Development [Tick as Appropriate]              Yes   No

           Does your institution have any guidelines on teaching and
     9.1                                                                      ❍    ❍
           learning?
           Does your institution have a regular professional develop-
     9.2                                                                      ❍    ❍
           ment programme for teaching staff?
           If yes, does this programme include a constructive discussion
     9.3                                                                      ❍    ❍
           on the application of teaching methods?
           Does this programme use an SCL approach in providing train-
     9.4   ing on the use of innovative teaching methods and student-         ❍    ❍
           centred curriculum development?

14
           Student centered learning
           time for a paradigm change
4     Changing the Mindset

4.1   Introduction
          Where none or few of the items listed     should always be based on values such
      in the above checklist are present with-      as academic freedom and professional-
      in a given higher education institution, a    ism if they are to achieve tangible results.
      change process would need to be initiat-      The challenge is therefore to forge a co-
      ed in order to move a higher education        alition with those who want to change
      institution or system towards applying        and to persuade others who are sceptical.
      the scl approach. In order for change to      Below, some guidance is given on elabo-
      take place in a given higher education        rating reform plans. The chapter will run
      setting, a strategy is needed with the        through six steps in a creative policy cy-
      aim of cooperating with and convinc-          cle, starting with planning and ending
      ing others. Collegiality is a central value   with an evaluation of the change process,
      in higher education. A strategy based on      with the aim of implementing reforms
      coercion and power will not only fail but     leading to the successful application of
      also raise active opposition. Strategies      the scl approach.

4.2   The Policy Cycle
          Much debate exists in higher educa-       of the bottom-up approach argue that
      tion policy on whether change happens         no change is carried through if it is not
      more effectively in a top-down or a bot-      supported by those who will do the ac-
      tom-up manner. There are strong argu-         tual teaching, with this being more ef-
      ments on both sides of the debate. Sup-       fective if initiatives start with individu-
      porters of the top-down approach argue        als themselves and are spread by means
      that democratically-elected leaders in        of a process of inspiration and sharing of
      higher education should control re-           best practices.
      sources to implement a consistent pol-            In trying to make change happen to
      icy at all levels of the higher education     lead towards the adoption of the scl ap-
      system. Top-down methods such as laws,        proach, it is advisable to be pragmat-
      regulations, ministerial decrees, insti-      ic and acknowledge a more iterative way
      tutional missions and reform agendas          of policy-making. In a pragmatic vision,
      can guarantee consistency across a giv-       both the top and the bottom levels have
      en higher education setting. Proponents       different roles to play and neither should

      Changing the Mindset                                                                  15
be over-emphasised. Higher education           The policy cycle acknowledges that
            leaders are needed because they have ac-   policy is made in iterative steps that can-
            cess to resources and to personnel and     not be fully-planned from the outset. If
            a good overview of the system. On the      presented in a model, it can look as fol-
            other hand, lower levels have expertise    lows:
            on the ground. They also have innova-          In the coming paragraphs, the six
            tive ideas and provide the motivation to   steps referred to above are elaborated
            implement any given policy. A good pol-    in turn one by one, in order to provide
            icy cycle acknowledges a role for both     some ideas on how to make change hap-
            levels and aims to enable them to work     pen.
            together.

     fig. 2 The policy cycle in six steps

                                                Analysis of
                                                 problem

                   Evaluate the impact                                Identify roles for
                      of the change                                    different actors

                        Implement                                      Identify drivers
                        the change                                       for change

                                            Identify strategies
                                               to overcome
                                            barriers to change

16
                    Student centered learning
                    time for a paradigm change
4.3       Step One: Analysis of the Problem
                Many strategies fail at the basic lev-         Analysing the problem is very much
           el, as reformers do not really know what        linked to thinking about solutions. This
           it is that they want to change. The first       stage thus includes thinking of crea-
           step always needs to be a full analysis         tive solutions and strategies to address
           of the current situation and a mapping-         the problem pro-actively. In order not
           out of the existing problem. Although           to get stuck in simple solutions, it is best
           the extent and detail to which the latter       to generate many different ideas to deal
           can be done will differ from one situa-         with the problem and to weigh them up
           tion to another, it is useful to think clear-   against each other only after coming up
           ly about what the main problem is and if        with several possibilities for action. This
                             an understanding of the       will not hamper creativity in developing
A useful tool at this        problem is shared with        solutions. This is especially important
first stage is the SWOT      colleagues and other          for scl as it is such a broad concept. So-
analysis, including a        stakeholders in a given       lutions can include considerations relat-
list of:                     higher education com-         ed to pedagogy, student participation or
Strengths                    munity. Even if it is clear   broader social issues linked to the stu-
Weaknesses                   that not everything can       dent experience.
Opportunities and            be planned, clear out-            At an early stage, it is important to
Threats                      comes and a timeline          be aware that the current trend in pol-
of the current situation, should be set in order           icy-making is evidence-based-policy. In
as a basis for chang-        to achieve the intended       short, this means that arguments and
ing it.                      change.                       ideas need to be backed-up by scientif-
                                                           ically undertaken policy-research. This
            You can also try to ask a number of            is because policy-makers prefer to see
          questions:                                       academic literature that discusses the
                                                           problem at hand and tried-and-tested
           How many of the checklist-items
          qq                                               solutions to it. Although this may sti-
           mentioned above are present?                    fle creativity in identifying solutions, it
           How do you define scl?
          qq                                               is relevant to consider that the audience
           How is your higher education envi-
          qq                                               is likely to be academic and that it will
           ronment not student-centred?                    judge the arguments put forward in a sci-
           What has already been done to solve
          qq                                               entific way. In order to improve the sci-
           the problem?                                    entific basis of such arguments, the fol-
           To what extent have these attempts
          qq                                               lowing journals and other sources can
           been successful or why have they not            prove to be useful sources to consult:
           been successful?
           Who and what needs to change?
          qq                                                Active Learning in Higher Education
                                                           qq
           Which competences and resources
          qq                                                journal;
           are needed to solve the problem?                 The Journal of Higher Education;
                                                           qq

          Changing the Mindset                                                                      17
The International Journal of Academic
      qq                                             Student-Centred Learning. An In-
                                                    qq
       Development;                                  sight into Theory and Practice (ei, esu,
       Teaching in Higher Education journal;
      qq                                             2010).
       Scholarship Reconsidered. Priorities of
      qq
       the Professoriate (Boyer,1990); and

4.4   Step Two: Identifying Roles for Different Actors
          After taking the decision that change     change process and the interests which
      is indeed necessary, it is imperative to      they may have:
      identify the other persons who also want
      the same change. Change is often initi-            Students’ Unions: Not surprising-
      ated by a ›coalition of the willing‹ or a     ly, students are often the staunchest sup-
      small grouping of those who agree on          porters of the scl approach. The joint
      the problem and the need to change.           esu-ei survey (2010) undertaken dur-
          To make higher education more stu-        ing the initial stages of the t4scl project
      dent-centred, it is useful to connect with    shows that attitudes of students’ unions
      lecturers, professional associations and      are most positive towards the idea. Gen-
      student organisations that can support        erally, their priority is to promote it as a
      the change project and increase its im-       political issue, arguing for a more sup-
      portance. A number of considerations          portive learning environment. In many
      can be made in choosing such change           cases, students’ unions are also ready to
      partners effectively. These include:          develop projects in institutions, to iden-
                                                    tify experienced student representatives
       The type of support they can provide
      qq                                            for project-work or to carry out reviews
       (moral, financial, expertise, time, in-      of learning processes at the institutional
       fluence);                                    or faculty level. In some situations, stu-
       The type of relationship you have with
      qq                                            dents’ unions may be focused on non-
       them (trust, personal, hierarchical);        academic issues. Therefore, it will be
       The type of resistance their involve-
      qq                                            helpful to clearly identify the broader
       ment is likely to pre-empt (as involve-      benefits of the scl approach.
       ment typically leads to participation            Higher Education Teachers’ Unions:
       instead of opposition); and                  Similarly to students’ unions, teachers’
       The legitimacy that they will bring to
      qq                                            unions are concerned with profession-
       reforms (on the premise that a smart-        al issues such as teaching and research as
       ly constructed partnership sounds            well with more traditional union issues
       more convincing).                            such as working conditions of higher ed-
                                                    ucation teaching staff. They can provide
         Below is a list of the potential differ-   experienced teachers and researchers
      ent actors that may be involved in such a     and an all-important reality-check of the

18
             Student centered learning
             time for a paradigm change
conditions necessary for change to be         many different initiatives at the same
implemented. Teachers’ unions are im-         time and often change rather slowly.
portant allies as teachers are often seen     Having a clear plan and a scientific basis
as having a negative attitude towards the     for argumentation will help to involve
scl approach. If their voice is involved      them in the change project.
at an early stage, enthusiasm for change          Employer Organisations: Business
can grow on the ground as well.               organisations play an increasingly im-
    Rectors’ Conferences or Associ-           portant role in higher education gov-
ations of Higher Education Institu-           ernance. Although their knowledge on
tions: The modernisation of higher edu-       higher education is usually not very high,
cation and of teaching is a clear priority    they usually know the problems of grad-
for most associations of higher educa-        uate employment quite well. Therefore,
tion institutions. Although often con-        they are generally in favour of a more
cerned with issues such as research and       student-centred approach that is aimed
funding, these organisations can be very      at personal independence and more ef-
important for the successful implemen-        fective learning. They can provide exper-
tation of change. They actively influ-        tise on employment issues, as well as re-
ence the priorities of the higher educa-      sources for projects to which they see a
tion system, they provide resources and       clear beneficial outcome.
have networks of influential thinkers in          The Media: The press is probably not
higher education. By mobilising some          very interested in writing about making
of these resources, a change project can      higher education more student-centred.
be enhanced by means of better visibili-      Nonetheless, different media can be im-
ty and resources. When engaging these         portant with respect to the public image
associations, it is important to be aware     of the higher education system. By pub-
that they require a clear plan and vision     lishing selected facts and examples of
of the problem a hand before engaging in      TIP
the change project.                                 Once you have gathered a
    Leadership of Higher Education In-         number of people around the table,
stitutions: Like their umbrella organisa-      you can use Responsibility Charting
tions, leaders of individual institutions      to distribute tasks effectively. Here
can provide resources and expertise and        you try to map out who is involved
can influence priorities. Usually there        in your project and what their role is
are specific structures within institu-        in every stage or activity. You can as-
tions to deal with educational matters,        sign four different roles to a person
such as a vice-rector for academic affairs,    in each situation: Responsibility (R);
a quality assurance unit or a profession-      Approval or Right to Veto (A-V); Sup-
al development unit. In more decentral-        port or Consult (S-C); or Inform (I).
ised institutions, they exist at faculty or    Be sure to assign a role to everyone
departmental level. These structures are       for every activity!
not easily mobilised, as they deal with

Changing the Mindset                                                                19
problems encountered by students in the       both motivated and capable in imple-
           system, arguments can be put forward          menting change projects to lead towards
           publicly for need for more attention and      the implementation of the scl approach.
           resources to be assigned to scl.              For example, educational researchers
               Individuals: Experts, individual stu-     working on the topic of scl would be
           dents, colleagues or friends can be useful    able to give evidence-based technical ad-
           to provide extra people as members of a       vice about implementing scl in a man-
           change team. By gathering the right mix       ner suitable to the given institution’s
           of participants, each with their own area     profile.
           of expertise, a team can be set up that is

     fig. 3 Example of Responsibility Charting for a Project Involving Four Actors

                                         Responsi-      Approval or    Support or
            Actor                                                                      Inform
                                           bility          Veto         Consult
            Students’ Union                  R               V              .             .
            Teachers’ Union                  R               V              .             .
            Rectors’ Conference               .              A              C             .
            Minister                          .              .              .             I

20
                    Student centered learning
                    time for a paradigm change
4.5   Step Three: Identifying the Drivers for Change
          In order to convince people to            ity education may give access to higher-
      change, it is important to know what          level jobs in the labour market
      motivates them. Therefore, it is neces-
      sary to identify ›drivers‹, ›catalysts‹ or        It is possible to assess whether or not
      ›incentives‹ for change. A lesson from        people are ready to change. An adapt-
      theories about reform is that individuals     ed version of Gleicher’s formula can be
      need to see a benefit in changing. This       a useful tool. It is necessary to fill in the
      benefit can take multiple forms (such as      formula with respect to the main ac-
      monetary rewards, quality improvement         tors involved in a given reform and as-
      and higher motivation) and it needs to        sess whether all the factors outweigh
      be identified explicitly. Benefits need to    the costs of such change. If they do, the
      be integrated into concrete and explicit      readiness to change will be positive. In
      policy in order for them to become driv-      this formula, factors D, B, V and C can
      ers for change. Following on the bene-        be influenced in order to enhance the
      fits of scl identified above in Chapter 2,    readiness for change.
      possible drivers for change could be:             Incentives to change are often al-
                                                    ready part of the culture in higher edu-
          Personal incentives: For teachers,        cation institutions. Citation index scores,
      teaching becomes more enjoyable, in-          the academic career ladder or quality
      teractive and rewarding if it is student-     evaluation forms are just a few examples
      centred. For students, learning becomes       of the tools used by institutions to influ-
      more interesting if it is interactive;        ence academics’ behaviour. It is impor-
          Educational incentives: Teaching          tant to think about how these existing
      can be more effective if it involves con-     tools link in with, or work against, the
      structive learning. Students will be able     aims of the planned change project.
      to learn better in such an environment,
      making the time they spend in higher                    R = (D x B x V x F) > C
      education more meaningful;
          Scholarship incentives: Research          Where:
      work can be integrated into teaching,         R stands for Readiness for change;
      producing a closer connection with the        D stands for Dissatisfaction with the
      research activities of the teacher. For       status quo;
      students, the link with the academic          B stands for the perceived Benefits of
      world and opportunities for an academic       the change for the actor;
      career will also improve; and                 V is the clarity of the shared Vision of
          Economic incentives: If academics         what is possible;
      improve their teaching, it may be possi-      F stands for the Feasibility of the steps
      ble for them to access higher levels of the   to implement new ideas; and
      career ladder. For students, higher-qual-     C stands for the Costs of changing.

      Changing the Mindset                                                                   21
fig. 4 Filling in Gleicher’s Formula can Expose the Problems of People who you think
            should Change!

                          Cost of Changing

                                                               Drivers of Change

                                                                   Benefits of
                                                                   changing

                                                              Feasibility of doing
                             Not knowing                      something differnt
                              what to do
                                                               Clarity of version
                                                                 of what to do
                              More work

                                                              Disstisfaction with
                                                                the status quo

22
                   Student centered learning
                   time for a paradigm change
4.6      Step Four: Strategies to Overcome Barriers to
         Change

             Identifying barriers to change is        those who outrightly resist any change
         equally important to creating incen-         plans. Different types of resistance can
         tives. Negative attitudes towards change     be tackled by means of different strate-
         are probably the most problematic for        gies. These may include informing peo-
         reform. Reasons for such negative at-        ple more, including them in decision-
         titudes can be numerous and include          making, trying to build competence and
         past experience of having been asked to      confidence through training or trying to
         change in several different directions at    persuade them and negotiate with them
         the same time, or having experienced         to address their needs more directly.
         failed attempts at change. In any case, it       Opposition to change can prove to
         is necessary to plan for a number of neg-    be useful if it is mobilised towards a pos-
         ative attitudes.                             itive effect. If opposition is dealt with se-
                                                      riously, it will be useful in exposing neg-
Barriers to change are usually diverse and may        ative aspects of the change plan, which
include:                                              can then be adapted accordingly. In any
qq Administrative hurdles;                            case, it is good to plan for the type of
qq Other priorities for higher education;             barriers that may arise as well as plan-
qq Lack of financial support;                         ning how such barriers could be dealt
qq Too centralised (or decentralised) decision-       with along the way.
   making;
qq Misunderstanding of the concept;
qq Negative attitudes towards the concept;            TIP
   and                                                       A Force Field Analysis can be
qq A different understanding of the vision for         a useful tool at this stage. This is
   the future.                                         a discussion tool with the aim of
                                                       identifying different actors, listing
            It is useful to identify different         all the different people and organi-
         types of negative attitudes towards the       sations that may have an influence
         planned change project, such as people        and mapping their connections and
         who give constructive feedback, those         levels of influence over the situation.
         who are pragmatically sceptical and

         Changing the Mindset                                                                   23
fig. 5 An example of a force-field analysis, using some of the actors presented above.

                                             Students' Union:
                                           qq Provides student
                                              representatives
                                           qq Has effective
                                              mediastrategies
            Rectors' Conference                                              Teachers' Union:
            qq Provides resources                                          qq Links teachers and
            qq Set priorities of                                              researchers
               higher education                                            qq Assesses realism
               system                                                         of reforms
                                               Student
                                               Centered
                                               Learning

4.7        Step Five: Implementing the Change
               At this stage, it is imperative to find   which lists sources for further reading.
           and use the resources to deal with the        Many policy manuals also exist which
           problem. It is not in the scope of this       show that plans can run into a number of
           toolkit to present ideas for fund-raising     difficulties. As the change project devel-
           or to give general suggestions on project     ops, the planning tools mentioned above
           management. However, an abundance of          and below can be used to recalibrate the
           literature exists on such issues, some of     change project when needed.
           which can be found in Chapter X below,

4.8        Step Six: Evaluating the Impact of the Change
               It is probably not so easy to evalu-      forms do not expose much about an ac-
           ate the impact of a change project. Sim-      tual change in students’ experiences.
           ple quantitative indicators such as the       Moreover, as students will probably not
           amount of people impacted, the amount         have experienced both the situation be-
           of teachers trained or the number of          fore and after the implementation of the
           positive results in student evaluation        change project, students themselves will

24
                   Student centered learning
                   time for a paradigm change
also find it hard to judge the impact of     their own experiences and opinions
the change after the implementation of       about the project. After this step, a set
Step Five. Standard evaluation models        of methods can be used to see if as-
are therefore probably inadequate in as-     sumptions about the effectiveness of the
sessing whether or not the change which      project were correct, such as by asking
led to the implementation of the scl ap-     colleagues or students who have been af-
proach was successful. Luckily, quality      fected by the project to judge the team’s
assurance practices in higher education      self-evaluation. Similarly students’ un-
provide some tools to evaluate the im-       ions, teachers’ unions and the other ac-
pact of the change undertaken.               tors mentioned above can be consulted
    It is important to realise that the      about the impact of the change project.
members of the team responsible for          These organisations usually have a more
steering the change are in a position to     historical overview over the system and
evaluate the impact of the work them-        might judge its impacts more broadly. It
selves. This can be done by means of a       is most important to consult with those
self-evaluation which tries to answer a      who are involved in the learning proc-
number of questions. These include the       ess itself as they will be better placed to
following:                                   judge the ›student-centredness‹ of the
                                             system.
 What were the aims of the change
qq
 project and the methods in attempt-
 ing to reach those aims?
 Have these methods been consistent-
qq                                           An integrated model of planning and
 ly applied?                                 evaluation is the so-called Plan-Do-
 Were the resources for the change
qq                                           Check-Act model or simply the PDCA
 project adequate and have they been         model. The idea is that all these stages
 used responsibly?                           are explicitly integrated in the change
 Have the different partners carried
qq                                           project, making it possible to actually
 out their role in the change project to     check whether what was planned has
 an adequate level?                          actually been achieved. In the ›check‹
 Have the different barriers been suc-
qq                                           phase, it is important to try to find out
 cessfully overcome?                         the differences between what was
 Have any negative side-effects of the
qq                                           planned and the results achieved. In
 change project arisen?                      the ›act‹ phase, it is key to find out the
                                             reasons why planned results did not
   In self-evaluation of a change project,   materialise and to try to apply the ap-
team members could try to spell out          propriate changes to the plans.

Changing the Mindset                                                                 25
5         Implementation by Teachers

5.1       Introduction
              Learning is often presented in a jux-          is to see it as a combination of the two
          taposition of either student-centred or            which are presented as either ends of a
          teacher-centred learning. In the reality           continuum, using three concepts regu-
          of practice the situation is less black and        larly used to describe scl, as follows:
          white. A more useful presentation of scl

    fig. 6 The Learning Continuum

                       Teacher–Centred Learning          ↔     Student–Centred Learning

                              Low student choice         ↔     High student choice
                             Passivity of students       ↔     Activity of students
                       Teacher as holder of power        ↔     Student empowerment

             In examining how this might look in             uation. This includes a consideration of
          practice, it is worth thinking how far up          their subject-discipline, classroom size,
                                                             institutional infrastructure and insti-
          Talk to me     …    and I will forget              tutional traditions, among other things.
          Show me        …    and I will remember            Below are a few elements to be taken
          Involve me     …    and I will understand          into consideration by teachers in high-
          Step back      …    and I will act                 er education within their given class-
                                             Confucius       room environment in order to help them
                                                             to move up the continuum towards the
          the continuum teachers, in their indi-             implementation of the scl approach, for
          vidual approach, are able to move within           the benefit of their students’ learning ex-
          the contextual barriers of their given sit-        perience.

          Implementation by Teachers                                                                 27
5.2       Students Motivation and Teachers’ Knowledge of
          Students

               Within the different roles that scl        Inviting representatives from socie-
                                                         qq
           envisages for both teachers and stu-           ty with specific expertise and experi-
           dents, the key factor in implementing a        ences regarding a field of study or in-
           new approach to learning is the motiva-        viting alumni to act as role models,
           tion of students. Greater involvement          connecting practical and learning ex-
          with students by the teacher is central         periences in their profession with ex-
           to this. Where students are motivated          periences gained during their study.
                            to come to an under-
What are students’          standing of, and engage          By making practical experiences
backgrounds?                with, the material with      more explicit, students as well as profes-
What do they                which they are present-      sionals will be able to relate theory and
already know?               ed, they are more likely     knowledge and to share knowledge and
How did they learn in       to adopt strategies that     skills.
the past?                   will lead to deeper levels       In addition, there is a demonstrable
What brought them to of learning.                        link between students’ previous experi-
your classroom?                The following are ex-     ences and their performance as learners.
What are their              amples of good practice      By tapping into this information, teach-
interests?                  and ideas for teachers to    ers would be in a better position to as-
What are their              enhance student moti-        sist students by increasing relevance and
aspirations?                vation:                      thereby enriching students’ understand-
                                                         ing. Previous experiences influence stu-
           Including students in co-creating
          qq                                             dents’ views of learning, their motiva-
           compelling courses;                           tion for learning and the way in which
           Exposing students to extremes of the
          qq                                             they approach learning. Teachers can
           subject-matter;                               connect best with students, and vice ver-
           Making students aware of the differ-
          qq                                             sa, if they know a bit about who they are,
           ent career paths that may be availa-          their previous experiences and their un-
           ble to them upon completion of their          derstanding of the subject matter.
           studies;                                          There are various ways in which
           Making students aware of the impor-
          qq                                             teachers can get to know this informa-
           tance of what they are doing and its          tion about their students. The following
           context in an applied situation which         are a few examples:
           shows its value to others;
           Applying their own research to the
          qq                                              In small groups: Teachers can ask stu-
                                                         qq
           learning experience of students,               dents to interview each other, ask-
           questioning used methods and ask-              ing why they chose the class, what
           ing for alternatives; and                      they hope to get out of it and what

28
                  Student centered learning
                  time for a paradigm change
they already know about the subject-         In larger lecture groups: The teacher
                                                         qq
             matter. Each student can then intro-         can try using small groups to briefly
             duce their interviewee to the rest if        summarise each group’s knowledge
             the class.                                   of the subject, sharing this with the
                                                          whole class.

5.3       Choice of Teaching and Learning Methods
              In scl there is an emphasis on skills         Within the classroom, practical im-
           and competences which demonstrate             plementation of an scl approach can in-
           responsibility for one’s own learn-           clude a number of components. The fol-
                            ing, independence and        lowing are a few examples of these:
Whatever the                cooperation, problem-
teaching method used, solving, understanding              Problem-based learning (pbl);
                                                         qq
the most important is       and thinking for one-         Group project work;
                                                         qq
to ensure an ACTIVE         self. There are a number      Student-centred active learning;
                                                         qq
role for the learner.       of strategies used in in-     Resource-based learning;
                                                         qq
                            struction in order to en-     Use of the case method;
                                                         qq
           courage this type of learning. These in-       Role plays;
                                                         qq
           clude:                                         Classroom workshops;
                                                         qq
                                                          Group presentations;
                                                         qq
             Making students more active in ac-           Use of a web-conferencing environ-
                                                         qq
          quiring knowledge and skills: This can          ment, particularly in distance educa-
          take the form of activities in class, field-    tion; and
          work, and the use of computer-assisted          Use of learning logs for students to
                                                         qq
          learning packages, among others;                record their educational experience.
             Making students more aware of what
          they are doing and why they are do-            TIP
          ing it: This can be done by using learn-             Consider reducing the amount
          ing logs, analytical presentations and          of contact hours, in order to have
          the like;                                       more SCL formats where possible.
             Focusing on interaction: Such as
          by the use of tutorials, buzz groups and           Small group work, often used in pbl,
          larger discussion groups; and                  enables students to learn how to work
             Focusing on transferable skills:            in a team, in the process of which they
          Looking beyond the immediate course            identify and fill the gaps in their knowl-
          requirements to other benefits to stu-         edge. This is an effective method of
          dents later on in their careers and in life.   learning as it activates prior knowledge,

          Implementation by Teachers                                                             29
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