Foundations of Student-Centered Learning and Teaching

Authored by: Sabine Hoidn , Kurt Reusser

The Routledge International Handbook of Student-Centered Learning and Teaching in Higher Education

Print publication date:  July  2020
Online publication date:  July  2020

Print ISBN: 9780367200527
eBook ISBN: 9780429259371
Adobe ISBN:


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The term “student-centered” is attributed to a variety of instructional methods, academic programs and even universities. This chapter takes a deeper look into what student-centeredness entails and what student-centered learning and teaching (SCLT) means, sketching some of its historical background. The historical roots and theoretical perspectives of SCLT in education will be traced, showing that the concept is building on various theories, learning models and principles extending from experiential learning to humanist and critical perspectives, constructivist theories, active learning and andragogy. These perspectives have a common vantage point in that they criticize the educational atmosphere in traditional learning environments where students can easily become “passive, apathetic and bored” (Rogers & Freiberg 1994). Subsequently, we will outline four complementary empirical research strands which have been highly influential in the context of SCLT in higher education and can inform the design of student-centered learning environments (SCLEs): teachers’ conceptions of learning and teaching, effective deeper-level features of instructional quality, approaches to learning and self-regulated learning. Finally, we will draw implications for the design of SCLEs based on the foundations discussed in this chapter.

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