What do we mean by learner-centredness?

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Opinions and research about learner-centered (also called student-centred) learning vary. Some scholars consider that it means students have a choice about their education whereas others look at learner-centeredness from the level of involvement that students have in the learning process, for example, active versus passive learning. Therefore, in a learner-centred educational environment, their expectation is that students are more involved in the learning process. Other definitions are broader and include both choice and activity, and also a shift in the power relationship between student and teacher.

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Thinking and Reading

  • What does learner-centredness or student-centredness mean to you?
  • Can you formulate a short description of this term?
After you have made some notes, please read the article by Geraldine O’Neill and Tim McMahon (2005): Student-centred learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers?.
  • How has your view of learner-centered learning changed?

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1. Watch this video by Dr. Andy Johnson: Learner centered instruction (6.29 min).
As you watch the video clip, jot down the six characteristics he mentions, and then reflect on how they apply to your teaching and learning context.
2. Reflect on how teacher-centred or learner-centred you are in the classroom.
3. Consider some strategies you might use to make your teaching approach more learner-centred.
4. Please add these ideas to your learning journal or eportfolio, and share on the Moodle forum.


O'Neill, G., & McMahon, T. (2005) Student-centred learning: What does it mean for students and lecturers? In O’Neill, G., Moore, S., McMullin, B. (Eds). Emerging Issues in the Practice of University Learning and Teaching. Dublin:AISHE. Retrieved from http://www.aishe.org/readings/2005-1/oneill-mcmahon-Tues_19th_Oct_SCL.html