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Student-Centered Learning (SCL)



SCL is also known as flexible learning, independent learning, open/distance learning, participative learning, or self-managed learning. It focuses on the student’s needs, abilities, interests, and learning styles, with the teacher acting as a facilitator of learning. It puts students first in the teaching and learning pedagogy. SCL requires that students be active, responsible participants in their own learning. Table 1 highlights some useful SCL activities.

Table 1: Activities in SCL
Outside the classroom In the classroom
Independent projects Buzz groups (short discussion in twos)
Group discussion Pyramids/Snowballing (buzz groups continuing the discussion into larger group)
Peer mentoring of other students Crossovers (mixing students into groups by letter/ number allocations)
Debates Rounds (giving turns to individual students to talk)
Field trips Quizzes
Practicals Writing reflections on learning (3–4 minutes)
Reflective diaries, learning journals Student class presentations
Computer-assisted learning Role playing
Projects Poster presentations
Writing newspaper articles Students producing mind maps in class
Portfolio development  
PBL PBL (less complex problems)
Case study Case study (Simpler cases)
Modular approach  


In addition to PBL, case study, and modular, PoPBL (Project-Based Problem-Based Learning) other SCL approaches should be taken into consideration (Table 2).

Table 2: Other SCL approaches
Other SCL Approaches Definition of terms
Collaborative Working together to achieve a goal, but in its negative sense it is working as a traitor
Contextual Relating to, dependent on, or using context (e.g., contextual criticism of a book)
Cooperative A business organization owned and operated by a group of individuals for their mutual benefit
Constructivist A theory of knowledge that argues that humans generate knowledge and meaning from an interaction between their experiences and their ideas
Inductive Of, pertaining to, or involving electrical or magnetic induction
Experiential Pertaining to or derived from experience
Simulation The imitation of some real thing, state of affairs, or process; the act of simulating something generally entails representing certain key characteristics or behaviours of a selected physical or abstract system


Read more:

Training Module Series: Student-Centered Learning (SCL) Approaches for Innovative Teaching by CDAE