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Student-Centered Teaching Meets New Media: Concept and Case Study

Keywords: Student-Centered eLearning (SCeL) , Student-Centered Teaching , Carl R. Rogers , Experiential learning , eLearning , Life-long learning , Person-Centered Approach , Humanistic psychology , Medical education

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Abstract:

There exists empirical evidence proving that students who are given the freedom to explore areas based on their personal interests, and who are accompanied in their learning by a supportive, understanding facilitator, not only achieve superior academic results but also develop socially and grow personally. However, pure Student-Centered Teaching is more demanding in terms of communication, organization, as well as the provision of learning material. Thus, the basic idea underlying our paradigm is to combine Student-Centered Teaching with eLearning in order to exploit the advantages of the two approaches. We refer to this combined style as Student-Centered eLearning (SCeL). Strongly simplified, the computer takes over the task of providing information, while presence phases can be used for giving the content more meaning by means of transparent, open, respectful and empathic interactions within the group. Our case study indicates that Student-Centered eLearning has the potential of reducing the increased demands of Student-Centered Teaching in the long run, while fully retaining all its benefits, such as deeper learning processes, personal growth, social skills, and a higher degree of flexibility. Furthermore, the maturity for life-long learning is cultivated. In this paper we introduce our concept and derive first hypotheses on the conditions under which our paradigm appears most effective. While potential continuations of our studies are manifold, we intend to employ SCeL in the course of the new curriculum of the medical faculty of GrazUniversity where a Virtual Medical Campus (http://vmc.uni-graz.at) is currently being developed.

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