Report: Culture Shift: Teaching in a Learner-Centered Environment Powered by Digital Learning




Wolf, M.A.


2012, May


Alliance for Excellent Education


The increasingly global economy and complex world have changed the demands on the U.S. education system. Unlike in the irst half of the twentieth century, today all students must be able to think critically, communicate effectively, collaborate with others, and analyze information and sources while meeting rigorous benchmarks, such as those contained in the common core state standards.1 The percentage of jobs in the United States requiring postsecondary education has grown from 28 percent to 60 percent since 1973.2 For students to be adequately prepared for college and a career, they must graduate from high school with a very different set of skills and knowledge than was needed in the past; according to the authors of Teaching 2030, “in the emerging workplace, most students—not just an elite few—must be able to ind, synthesize, and evaluate information from a wide variety of subjects and sources.”3 This requires a shift from a teacher-centric culture to one that supports learner-centered instruction with an intense focus on the student, whether in face-to-face, blended, or virtual environments. The learner-centered environment uses data to set learning goals and criteria for success, assesses progress, and provides students with a comprehensive system of academic and developmental supports. The new culture offers lexible learning opportunities that are relevant to students and engage them deeply in directing and taking responsibility for their individual learning.4 Speciically, learner-centered instruction has several characteristics that help prepare students for college and a career. Such instruction is: rigorous and based on college- and career-ready expectations; personalized; collaborative, relevant, and applied; and lexible, with learning taking place anytime, anywhere.


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