Chapter 9 of Learner-Centered Teaching is about patterns.
Since patterns exist everywhere, the ability to recognize patterns is a valuable skill.
We should help students recognize the patterns that exist in our own content areas. To a novice, the material presented may seem very random. Build activities and demonstrations which show students how the material is interconnected and organized. Teach students how to use patterning in order to compare and contrast, show how things are similar or different, etc.
Students have been engaged in linear learning activities in the K-12 classroom.
Terry Doyle says that learner-centered teaching is about teaching students to recognize patterns.
- Help students use their own patterns. They can do this by re-wording, reflecting, etc.
- Help students see the patterns, if they cannot. Point out patterns in the course or in the content of the course and relate these to what the students know.
- Help students make the patterns in the course content area more recognizable and familiar.
One approach from cognitive science which can help in developing instructional content is called interleaving. Example problems can be interspersed with actual problem solving to improve learning. Students pay more attention to the examples when they know they will be expected to use the content to solve an immediate problem.
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There is a pertinent quote in chapter 7 of Terry Doyle’s book, Learning-Centered Teaching.
Pedagogies that take the social nature of learning tend to be more successful. Students give witness that when they have opportunities to discuss, critique, and relate the material to their own lives, it becomes more meaningful and memorable.
Discussions are used in most, if not all, online courses at Granite State College.
This chapter provides rationales for using discussion, including:
- It’s important to be able to express one’s ideas in the workplace.
- Students need to hear the different views of their peers.
- Research shows that learning is enhanced by discussion.
- Most work is done in teams and groups and working in discussion groups may be good practice for this.
- Discussion develops critical thinking skills.
- Challenging or agreeing with others is an important tool in effective communication.
- Discussion allows students to clarify their thoughts.
This chapter talks mainly about face-to-face discussions, but many of the important points to consider are also important for online discussions.
- One thing to think about is whether the discussion will take place in groups or among all members of the class. If in groups, make sure the students know how to work in groups. If not, teach them what they need to do.
- Another thing is the discussion question(s). Some instructors find this to be difficult. The questions must be open-ended. These can include questions which ask for evidence, clarification, cause and effect, hypotheses, and more.
- The third thing to consider is the discussion method. Will you have a guided discussion, a debate, role playing, or something else?
- What happens after the discussion ends? Do students write a summary, a reflection, a mind map, or do they do nothing? Are students assessed on what happens in the discussions? They should be, especially if discussions are a large part of the class.
Beth Rubin provides good guidelines for managing an online discussion in this video.
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Who are learners and how do we get to know them better?
Chapter 5 of Terry Doyle’s book, Learner-Centered Teaching, has some good insights on ways to get to know your students.
One interesting thing in this chapter is a list of standards all teachers should work toward:
- Establish a safe classroom.
- Strive to make the work the students do be of value to them.
- Provide evidence of student success.
- Establish a caring classroom.
- Use best practices.
(from Rogers, S. , and Renard, L (1999) Relationship-driven teaching. Educational Leadership. September, 34-37 )
Sharing Control and Giving Choices
Chapter 6 of this book considers sharing control with students. There are many things that need to be decided every term. Usually the instructor decides these things, but can students be given a voice?
Here’s a modified list:
- When exams will be given
- Attendance policy
- Late work policy
- Due dates for major papers
- Groups formation
- Topics for papers or projects
- Discussion guidelines
- Rubrics for self-evaluation and evaluation of peers’ work
- Whether rewriting should be allowed
- Whether to allow re-testing
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In Chapter 4 of Learner-Centered Teaching, Terry Doyle talks about feedback
Here are some key points about giving feedback:
- Feedback is most effective when both students and teachers are actively involved.
- Assignments should be given so that students can see the benefit of paying attention to the feedback.
- Give feedback that tells the student how to improve.
- Link feedback to a rubric.
- Give feedback as soon as possible.
- Use language the students can understand.
- Make the feedback very specific.
- Relate feedback to the learning goals.
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In Chapter 3 of Learner-Centered Teaching Terry Doyle considers Authentic Learning.
Authentic learning is a pedagogical approach that allows students to explore, discuss, and meaningfully construct concepts and relationships in contexts that involve real-world problems and projects that are relevant to the learner (Donovan, Bransford, & Pellegrino, 1999)
Authentic instruction will take on a much different form than traditional methods of teaching. The literature suggests that authentic learning has several key characteristics.
- Learning is centered on authentic tasks that are of interest to the learners.
- Students are engaged in exploration and inquiry.
- Learning, most often, is interdisciplinary.
- Learning is closely connected to the world beyond the walls of the
- Students become engaged in complex tasks and higher-order thinking
- skills, such as analyzing, synthesizing, designing, manipulating and
- evaluating information.
- Students produce a product that can be shared with an audience outside
- the classroom.
- Learning is student driven with teachers, parents, and outside experts all
- assisting/coaching in the learning process.
- Learners employ scaffolding techniques.
- Students have opportunities for social discourse.
The Educause White Paper Authentic Learning for the 21st Century: An Overview by Marilyn Lombardi has some great information too. The Abstract below may entice you to dive in.
Learning-by-doing is generally considered the most effective way to learn. The Internet and a variety of emerging communication, visualization, and simulation technologies now make it possible to offer students authentic learning experiences ranging from experimentation to real-world problem solving. This white paper explores what constitutes authentic learning, how technology supports it, what makes it effective, and why it is important.
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Terry Doyle starts his book with this:
The question everyone asks, and rightly so, is why should teachers change to a learner centered approach to instruction? The answer is actually very simple. Fifteen years of neuroscience, biology and cognitive psychology research findings on how humans learn offer this powerful and singular conclusion: “It is the one who does the work who does the learning” (Doyle, 2008). This conclusion strongly suggests that the traditional model of teacher centered instruction, where teachers do a lot of the work, is less effective and can be detrimental to students’ learning. Therefore, a new approach is needed that gets the students to do most of the learning work and that approach is learner centered teaching.
What can the brain tell us about students’ learning?
You might want to listen to Dr. John Medina talk about his book Brain Rules at Authors@Google: Dr. John Medina. He takes into account how the brain processes information and suggests how to re-engineer the classroom using the more modern understanding of how we learn.
Or, take a look at the Brain Rules Website.
In any event, it is important to use what we do know about the brain to re-design our courses.
See original Learner-Centered Teaching post
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The one who does the work does the learning.
Way back in November of 2011, several members of our instructional design team attended a workshop run by Terry Doyle, the author of a book by this name – Learning Centered Teaching: Putting the Research into Practice. He has a blog too http://learnercenteredteaching.wordpress.com/, which is the Largest Resource for Learner Centered Teaching on the Web.
The question everyone asks, and rightly so, is why should teachers change to a learner centered approach to instruction? The answer is actually very simple. Fifteen years of neuroscience, biology and cognitive psychology research findings on how humans learn offer this powerful and singular conclusion: “It is the one who does the work who does the learning” (Doyle, 2008). This conclusion strongly suggests that the traditional model of teacher centered instruction, where teachers do a lot of the work, is less effective and can be detrimental to students’ learning. Therefore, a new approach is needed that gets the students to do most of the learning work and that approach is learner centered teaching. (from Learning Centered Teaching: Putting the Research into Practice)
After the conference, I read Terry Doyle’s book. Here’s why you should too.
- The book and Doyle’s associated blog include a lot of research supporting Learner Centered Teaching. He pointed out in his talk that it’s unethical to teach in a way that ignores new findings about how learning occurs. So, first, read about the research.
- Next, he offers strategies for teachers to let students do the work.
- This is followed by a chapter on authentic learning.
- And, how to move from being a lecturer to being a facilitator.
- Getting to know your students is the next area he considers.
- Sharing control and giving your students choices is an important aspect of learner centered teaching.
- Facilitating discussions follows.
- Teaching to all the senses, including consideration of nutrition, exercise, and more is an interesting part of a book on teaching and learning.
- Patterns are everywhere and getting students to find them is considered next.
- Repetition and elaboration – What helps memory of important information?
I will consider these areas in more detail in future posts.
Meanwhile, watch Terry Doyle discuss his book on these videos.
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