Spring 2014

Creating Learner-Centric Environments

CEO Message: Defining Learner-Centric

CEO Message

More and more educators are embracing the concept of learner-centric, but do we really know what it means? Do we have a common definition that can guide our work and ensure that genuine implementation of learner-centric educational environments is understood and shared by all?

More and more educators are embracing the concept of learner-centric, but do we really know what it means? Do we have a common definition that can guide our work and ensure that genuine implementation of learner-centric educational environments is understood and shared by all?

I would suggest that we are still defining “learner-centric,” both by our words and our deeds. Efforts to allow students more input into what they learn and how they learn have been documented and shared. However, a true learner-centric environment is one in which learning is no longer based on time but rather on the learner. When time becomes a variable and learning is the constant; when we move from standardization to customization, our educational system will be learner-centric.

In the future, students and institutions should have the opportunity to construct their curriculum so that all students enjoy a customized and personalized educational experience that ensures readiness and preparedness for their futures. Schools and school systems will broaden how student success is measured and how learners demonstrate success will differ from student to student.

This AdvancED Source issue on Creating Learner-Centric Environments begins with Barbara Bray, Creative Learning Officer/Co-Founder of Personalize Learning, LLC, and Kathleen McClaskey, CEO/Co-Founder of Personalize Learning, LLC, who explore the stages of implementing a flexible learning environment. They share how personalized learning subsequently changes the role of both the teacher and the student in Building Personalized Learning Environments. In Creating Learning Environments that Work for Kids, Hillary Dack, doctoral student in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia; and Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson, Professor and Chair of Educational Leadership, Foundations, and Policy at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia, describe a truly flexible classroom in which students are at the center.

AdvancED’s senior researcher Dr. Matt Dawson shares the results of the classroom observation tool used in over 26,000 classrooms to assess effective learning environments in his article, Analyzing Results from AdvancED’s Classroom Observation Tool. Educational veteran Arnold Langberg shares his experiences with and the critical components for creating and sustaining learner centric schools in The Creation of One Learner Centric Learning Environment. Our next author, Dr. Debra Howe, Superintendent of Tri-Creek School Corporation, in Engaged…Equipped…Empowered, explains how project-based learning is at the heart of engagement and builds not only students’ knowledge, but their skills for success, too.

In SE2R Can Revolutionize How We Assess Learning, author and consultant Mark Barnes describes and demonstrates a system of evaluation and reporting that engages students and creates mastery learning. Father and son team Terry Doyle, Professor of Reading at Ferris State University, and Brendon Doyle, research assistant at Ferris State University, outline the five areas that can improve learning readiness in A New Paradigm for Student Learners — a good read for teachers, parents and students. Dr. Tim Hudson, in Student-centered Learning Powered by Technology, describes how technology can support both student independence and teacher decision-making.

The broad perspectives of our authors reinforce that we may not yet have a shared definition of learner-centric, but they all offer great examples of how we can begin to put into action important elements of such a system. We appreciate them expanding our view of the opportunities presented when we are Creating Learner-Centric Environments.

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