A qualitative examination of connections between learner-centered teaching and past significant learning experiences

Tim Brackenbury


Learner-centered teaching is a collection of instructional practices that shift the emphasis of courses from the instructors’ goals and methods of delivery to the knowledge and skills that the students develop. This study examined potential commonalities between features of learner-centered teaching and the past significant learning experiences of current faculty. A phenomenological analysis of written essays revealed eight dominant themes: 1) Student responsibility for learning, 2) Learning through direct experience or example, 3) Responsive instructors, 4) Difficult activities that took time, 5) Connections to previous knowledge and experiences, 6) Direct research experience, 7) Challenging initial ideas and assumptions, and 8) Rich in content. These themes are discussed in terms of their connections to features of learner-centered teaching and potential implications for educators.


learner-centered teaching, significant learning experiences, faculty reflections, active learning, student learning

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ISSN 1527-9316