For years, the emphasis has been on a Traditional (trainer-centered) educational model. Students in this conventional learning approach are required to listen solely to lecturers. Trainers typically direct all classroom activities, leaving little room for feedback or discussion. It promotes a culture of dependency, which inhibits the learning process.
In recent years, however, a Coaching (learner-centered) method has received traction. Utilizing the advancements in technology due to increased globalization and digitization, this innovative pedagogical method transforms the way learners gain and apply knowledge. An interactive teaching methodology teaches students how to succeed and prepares them for the workplace.
What Is Traditional Learning?
Traditional teaching tactics are a collection of strategies that were once popular but are now more and more becoming outdated. When teachers were not required to complete any teacher training in the early days of the modern education system (approximately 1800-the 1930s), these practices were the primary teaching approaches used.
Many of the educational methods utilized at the time included extremely repetitive (drill) assignments that emphasized memorization (rote learning) while undermining critical thinking, problem-solving, metacognitive, and social abilities. Students spoke less, the teacher spoke a lot, and discipline was often harsh, even by today’s standards.
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Traditional teaching methods guaranteed that students were awarded for their achievements and that students’ behavior was regulated using clear guidelines. They were founded on long-standing traditions that had been successfully implemented in schools for many years. Teachers passed on their knowledge while enforcing strict behavioral norms.
What Does A Learner-Centered Approach?
While fundamentally different from a traditional classroom, a learner-centered approach does not eliminate the teacher. A learner-centered setting encourages students to learn more collaboratively. When necessary, the trainer acts as a facilitator, modeling instructions, offering guidance, and answering questions. It is up to the student to decide how they want to learn, why they want to learn that way, and with whom they want to learn. Students discuss each other’s questions and provide comments, with the instructor serving as a reference as needed.
In a learner-centered approach, learners are viewed as active agents. They bring their expertise, previous experiences, training, and ideas, influencing how learners absorb and learn new information.
This procedure is intended to allow pupils to learn in the way they do best. Keep in mind that what works for one person may not work for another and that at the end of the day, it is not about what was taught but about what was learned.
It is very different from the typical instructor-centered approach. Traditional learning methodologies were influenced by behaviorism, which regards learners as “blank slates” and instructors as “experts” who must transfer all important information. Learners are viewed as responding to external cues in this method.
‘Guide on the Side’ vs. ‘Sage on the Stage’
The trainer-centered approach, often known as the “Sage on the Stage” method, depicts the trainer as the expert in charge of imparting information to their students through lectures or guided practice. Students are sometimes referred to as “empty vessels” in this sense since they listen to and absorb information.
Though the trainer-centered approach was once seen as the more traditional approach, the education sector has developed to recognize the substantial benefits of letting students be more active self-directed learners. There are, however, numerous cases of students being inspired and influenced by a trainer speaking on a topic they have spent their entire life learning.
The student-centered model, often known as the “Guide on the Side” method, promotes greater harmony between the trainer and student, with each playing a part in the learning process. The instructor retains authority but is more likely to serve as a facilitator, coaching and aiding pupils in their learning.
This approach, which has gained considerable attention over the last several decades, promotes student choice and encourages student interconnection, embracing the philosophy that they must be willfully engaged in the process for a student to learn properly.
Students in trainer-centered or traditional education focus solely on the trainer. You speak, and the students only listen. Students work alone throughout tasks, and teamwork is disallowed.
- When education is centered on the trainer, the classroom remains disciplined. The students are silent, and you have complete control over the classroom and its activities.
- You don’t have to worry about students missing a key topic because you direct all activities in the classroom.
- Students who work alone do not work cooperatively with other students, and their interpersonal communication may suffer as a result.
- For learners, trainer-centered instruction can be tedious. Their thoughts may wander, and they may overlook critical information.
- Trainer-centered instruction prevents students from expressing themselves, asking questions, or directing their learning.
Students and instructors share the attention in a classroom that uses learner-centered instruction. Students and trainers interact equally rather than solely listening to the trainer. Students are encouraged to work in groups and learn to collaborate and communicate with one another.
- Group work teaches students important interactive and collaborative skills.
- Students can direct their learning, ask questions, and finish assignments on their own.
- When students can communicate with one another in learning activities, they are more engaged.
- Classrooms can be noisy or disorderly because students are chatting.
- Trainers may be required to manage all of their students’ activities at the same time, which can be challenging when students are working on different phases of the same project.
- Some students may miss essential data because the trainer does not always offer instructions to all pupils.
- Some students enjoy working alone, so group projects might be difficult.
So Which One Is Better?
Each learning theory has its school of thought, but one constant seems to be that the more involved people are in the learning process, the more they will remember when they return to work.
Learner-centered techniques provide enough opportunities for your team to practice the soft skills they need to use every day at work, such as communication, cooperation, and problem-solving, among others. It’s a hands-on method to learning new content in which students are given a lot of control. It’s also great for a workplace training environment where employees are expected to work independently as well as in groups.