Until recently, research into learning and teaching in universities has focused on what the teacher does rather than on what the learner does. However, recent research into student learning indicates what your students do in order to learn is of the greatest importance. Following on from this research, educators have developed "learner-centred" or "Student-Centred" pedagogy that has significantly influenced our understanding of university learning and teaching.
As Thomas Shuell has said, student-centred teaching is built on the assumption that "what the student does is actually more important in determining what is learned than what the teacher does" (T.J. Shuell, "Cognitive Conceptions of Learning" (1986), 429 ). Therefore, as an important part of our learning and teaching approach, UNSW emphasises student-centred and active learning approaches to engage students in their learning.
If you want your student-centred learning activities to be effective, communicate the objectives, benefits and expectations to students so that they feel prepared and supported in their learning. In particular, students who are used to more traditional (teacher-centred) teaching will need this support.
The following kinds of activities can be used to facilitate student-centred learning and teaching. Use these strategies to give students a chance to actively engage with the content and to provide variety within the lecture or tutorial:
- Active learning spaces
- Blended and online learning
- Case studies
- Flipped classroom
- Group work
- Teaching diverse groups