Instructor Versus Student-Centered Learning
What are the differences between instructor-centered versus student-centered learning? With instructor-centered learning occurs, the instructor is the one leading the class, discussion, ect. This type of learning can lead to students who are more likely to rely on their instructor to spoon feed them information rather than build their own skill set so that they can become the facilitators of their own learning. When the instructor is the main lead, it can also cause thethe instructor, to become more worn out. Teach burn out can happen when students have failed to create autonomy of their learning and instead have to rely on the teacher to answer every single on of their questions, questions that could have been solved by themselves.
When students are the facilitators of their own learning, they get to choose which information is important to them. I find that when I give students control over their own learning, there is an increase of engagement since students get to focus on items that matter to them. One aspect of student-centered learning that I find challenging is the release of control. In my own class, I tend to start off the year with a more instructor-centered approach. This way I can teach my students all the skills that they will need when I transfer the “power” to them. However, I always worry that I haven’t given them enough skills to succeed. Over the past few years that I have been teaching, I have had to remind myself that even if I haven’t taught all the skills to my students, I have provided them with the materials and skill sets they need to find what they are looking for. Whether that be through asking me, a peer, by looking it up online or by going to the library for additional resources. Through transferring control, students gain a sense of ownership over their own work and creates a growth mindset, where they know how to overcome obstacles in their way. Overall, the main goal as educators should be to provide students with the skills to explore and learn topics, so that they become self-reliant, resilient individuals.
Asynchronous Versus Synchronous Learning
Synchronous learning means that the learners meet with each other and the instructor in real time in the same space (classroom, video conference, group chat). Where synchronous learning means that students aren’t required to meet in the same space at the same time (usually online courses are asynchronous).
However, most classes have components of both asynchronous and asynchronous learning. For example, you could have a class that is doing a group project, so some days they may be meeting in person, where on other days group members will have to work on different parts of their project through group chats or video messages. This was the case for myself while going to university. I found that most of my classes met in person but then we were also required to post and comment on an online discussion tool. I found that by implementing both asynchronous and synchronous learning, I learnt more since information was given to me through multiple methods. However, with that being said, I recognize that some people prefer one mode of learning over the other and when I create my own classes/lessons, I need to make sure to keep that in mind.
My thoughts on connectivism
Upon reading both articles, I found myself pondering the question, “do I use a constructivism approach in my own teaching?”. After thinking about this for a few days, I came to the conclusion that I use both a connectivism and a constructivism approach while teaching. Within the article Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, it states that constructivism assumes that the learners comes with prior knowledge and experiences and that the learning that occurs in a connectivism based class is driven by students. I really enjoyed the section on chaos which talked about how everything is connected to each other. I believe that a huge part of learning is being able to identify how everything is somehow connected. The idea behind chaos relates directly with connectivism since it relies on the student to take ownership of their learning and to research, engage, discuss their ideas and opinions to further enrich their understanding of a given topic.