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Curtin University

Student-centred learning

Student-centred learning is grounded in constructivist learning theories. Constructivism evolved from a number of learning theories, each contributing valuable ideas that have shaped current understandings. The notion that binds them together is that the learner is the central entity who must be actively engaged in seeking and constructing meaning.

Semple (2000) presents a summary of the fundamental principles that make up the theoretical framework significant to learning and teaching, these being that:

  • knowledge is constructed from the experience of the learner;
  • knowledge resides in the mind rather than externally;
  • learning is a personal interpretation of the world in that the learner's beliefs and values are used in interpreting objects and events;
  • learning is an active process of making meaning from experience;
  • learning takes place in contexts relevant to the learner;
  • reflection is an essential part of learning; and
  • learning is a collaborative process in which multiple perspectives are considered(p. 25)

It is important to integrate authentic, reflective and collaborative learning experiences when designing for student-centred learning.

Semple, A. (2000). Learning theories and their influence on the development and use of educational technologies. Australian Science Teachers Journal, Vol 46(3).

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Authentic learning

Authentic learning occurs when learners engage in tasks that they are likely to encounter in the real world. General guidelines to follow include providing: an authentic context that reflects the way the knowledge will be used in real life, authentic activities, access to expert performance and the modelling of processes, multiple roles and perspectives, collaborative construction of knowledge, reflection, articulation, coaching and scaffolding, and authentic assessment. Read more...

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Reflective learning

Reflection is an inter-subjective process that promotes deeper learning; it involves consciously thinking about and analysing what one has done (or is doing). In higher education settings it provides a framework for developing professionals as lifelong learners who are committed to continuous improvement of their practice. Read more...

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Collaborative learning

Collaborative learning is an educational approach that involves groups of learners working together to solve a problem, complete a task, or create a product. It is based on the idea that learning is a naturally social act. Learning occurs though active engagement among peers, either face-to-face or online. Read more...

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