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Thursday, June 22 • 1:00pm - 1:30pm
5b: Critical teaching/learning activities for optimizing students’ learning in a learner-centered environment

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Within the last few years we have witnessed a significant paradigm shift in teaching in the academia from teacher focused instruction to learner-centered or student-centered learning. This shift came as a result of many faculty and administrators worrying on how to get their students to learn more and better (Tagg, 2008). In fact, creating a learner-centered environment is the most important thing an educator can do to optimize students’ learning (Doyle, 2008, p.xv). A learner environment is different from traditional environment where students take notes and pass tests. It is an environment that allows students to take responsibility over their educational experience and encourages them to make important choices about what and how they will learn (Doyle, 2008). In other words, a learner-centered teaching simply means subjecting every teaching activity (method, assignments, or assessment) to the test of a single question: “Given the context of my students, course, and classroom, will this teaching action optimize my students’ opportunity to learn?” Learner-centered learning is therefore about students as ‘active participants’ in the classroom, as partners who contribute to reaching the required outcomes of a course or programme.” In order to optimize students’ learning there is a need for a variety of learning/teaching activities that employ different strategies for attaining the learning outcomes. In so doing, you will be more likely to appeal to the different learning styles that are present in the student population. You will also create opportunities for students to be exposed to diverse perspectives and to “stretch” themselves by trying new approaches. As Doyle (2008, p. xv) notes, “teachers can make learning fun, interesting, exciting, and challenging, or they can make it awful, boring, painful, and useless.” It is my rationalization that adopting a learner-centered approach will make learning more fun and exciting. In this paper, I will explore the various activities deemed critical to the success of learner-centered teaching.


Dominic Silvio

Reference and Instruction Librarian, Dalhousie University
Dominic Silvio is a Reference and Instruction Librarian and the subject specialist for political science, international development studies, black Canadian studies, sociology & social anthropology, gender and women’s studies, and social work.

Thursday June 22, 2017 1:00pm - 1:30pm PDT
C2.06 - 2nd floor Free University of Bolzano-Bozen

Attendees (5)