The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically shifted the way we think about education, with many schools and universities forced to transition to remote learning overnight. While this has been a challenging adjustment for everyone involved, there is a silver lining to be found in the form of student-led learning.
Student-led learning, also known as learner-centered education, empowers students to take control of their own education and drives them to take an active role in their own learning. This type of learning has been proven to increase student engagement, motivation, and academic success, making it a valuable tool in today's emergency remote teaching environment.
Catlin Tucker reaffirms this idea in this incredible post discussing “5 Tips for Teaching Online”:
Here are four ideas for incorporating student-led learning into your emergency remote teaching curriculum:
Gamification is the process of adding game-like elements to learning activities. This can be as simple as adding points, levels, and rewards to a traditional assignment, or as complex as creating an entirely gamified learning environment. Gamification has been shown to increase engagement and motivation in students, making it a great tool for incorporating student-led learning in emergency remote teaching.
2. Project-Based Learning
Project-based learning is a student-centered teaching method that involves having students work on real-world projects. These projects can be individual or group-based and can be done entirely online. Project-based learning encourages students to take ownership of their learning and drives them to take an active role in the learning process.
3. Student-Created Content
Student-created content is a way to involve students in the creation of their own learning materials. This can be as simple as having students create a presentation on a topic they are interested in, or as complex as having students create an entire online course. Student-created content not only helps students take ownership of their learning, but it also provides them with a valuable skill that will serve them well in their future careers.
4. Online Discussion Boards
Online discussion boards are a great way to encourage student-led learning in emergency remote teaching. These forums allow students to discuss course material and exchange ideas with their peers. Online discussion boards can be used to facilitate group projects or to encourage independent thinking.
Classroom Exercise: Student-Led Learning Scavenger Hunt
Objective: To encourage students to take an active role in their own learning and to promote critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Materials: A list of questions or tasks related to the subject matter, access to online resources (such as the internet or textbooks)
- Divide the class into small groups of 2-3 students.
- Give each group a list of questions or tasks related to the subject matter that they need to complete. The questions or tasks should challenge students to think critically and use the resources provided to find the answers.
- Provide each group with access to online resources (such as the internet or textbooks) that they can use to find the answers.
- Set a time limit for the scavenger hunt (30-45 minutes is a good starting point).
- Once the time limit has expired, have each group present their answers to the rest of the class.
- Encourage discussion and collaboration between the groups as they present their answers.
- After all groups have presented, take some time to review the answers and discuss any discrepancies or misunderstandings.
- Finish the exercise by having a class discussion on the importance of student-led learning and how it can be incorporated into future lessons.
Assessment: Observe student engagement and participation during the exercise and use the answers presented to assess their understanding of the subject matter.
This exercise can be adapted to fit any subject matter and can be a fun and engaging way to promote student-led learning in the classroom.
Incorporating student-led learning into emergency remote teaching is a great way to increase student engagement, motivation, and academic success. The four ideas outlined above are just a starting point and can be adapted to fit your individual teaching style and curriculum. Don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for your students.