Sunday, June 12, 2005

Learner Centered

One of the things I'm wrestling with around the web these days is what is a "Learner Centered Environment." I wanted to bring that discussion over here with my EVO buddies and see what this looks like to you.

The problem I have is this notion that learners in a learner centered environment have to "come to class on time." Now this is a metaphor for all the stuff we make students do -- come to class, do homework assignments, study in a particular sequence, attend school at a particular place and time, etc. How is this learner centered?

There are several decentralized models lurking about -- I've been inspired by Scott Wilson's vision (corrected) for some time. But I think it's too complicated -- too specific.

So I made this diagram:

Learner Environment

But is this too simplistic?


Lesley said...

The link to S. Wilson's version isn't working so I can't compare but yes, I do think it's a little too simple for an EFL environment anyway. We've got to take into account not just oral reception and production but also written forms of interaction. And then, where's the interaction with stuff other than the archive? I could go on but I'll wait until I can compare.

Nathan Lowell said...

I looked up the graphic address and corrected the link. For some reason the post doesn't wanna work.

To clarify somethings that didn't make it into the last paragraph ...

Listen is a metaphor for Hear, Read, See, Observe -- basically the incoming stuffage.

Speak is a metaphor for Speech, Writing, Drawing -- basically the outgoing stuffage.

The Archive is where we keep track of all our own stuff. I have a huge pile of books, papers, photo's, recordings, links, powerpoints, etc that comprise my personal archive.

Nancy McKeand said...

I tend to agree with Lesley that yours is too simplistic -- or maybe I am just not seeing it correctly -- and I think Scott's is way to specific for it to be useful for me.

I really think we talk about learner ceneterd environments but seldom even attempt to bring them into existence. Part of that is just that it is difficult to really think outside the box far enough to visualize what such an environment/classroom would look like.

Scott's vision certainly seems to provide a lot of opportunity for the learner to control what happens, but I wonder if that is really necessarily the case. Couldn't we control everything he indicates by requiring a certain number of live journal posts, by dictating requirements for the ePortfolio, etc.?

Nathan Lowell said...

Well, it's no longer learner centered if we're telling learners how many posts to make, is it?

What does a learner need to do?

Take stuff in, process it, save some of it for later use, and put stuff out.

Scott's model uses exemplars of all those tools and spaces, spelling out some of the kinds of tools and transactions that a learner might use.

In my model, I purposely left out the specific tools (how a learner would do it) in favor of trying to come up with a perception of what a learner needs to do.

But keep pushing me.

aaron said...

I love the simplicy, but where would reflection fit into the model? Is it really the same as listening? It's not exactly speaking either. Hmmm....

Nathan Lowell said...

All the processing happens in the Learner box -- reflection, connection, selection, decision, etc.