Entrust learners to take ownership of their learning
In a Learner Led environment, learners co-design their learning experiences; articulate their interests, strengths and needs; assess, monitor and reflect on their own progress; partner in setting their learning goals and plans; and advocate for support from teachers, peers, technology and other sources.
increase in skills among children who were taught self-monitoring over children who were not
The Journal of Experimental Education, 51(2), 89–93.
How Do Learner Led Experiences Help Students?
When students lead and feel in control, they work harder to learn. This is the case whether or not they meet their goals.
Still, teachers know they must strike a balance between giving students autonomy and supporting them to develop crucial skills and knowledge—because students need to feel confident and competent before taking greater control of their learning.
The Elements of Learner Led
Students co-design their learning experiences.
Students articulate their interests, strengths and needs.
Students assess, monitor and reflect on their own progress.
Students partner in setting their learning goals and plans.
Students advocate for needed support from teachers, peers, technology and other sources.
“Feeling in control is insufficient if learners do not also value the outcome of their learning.”
Wigfield, A., & Cambria, J. (2010)
What Does the Research Say?
Studies are mixed on whether students learn more from student-led projects or ones led by teachers. This is largely because few models are purely one or the other; the best classrooms embrace a hybrid where teachers and students collaborate on desired projects, and students get more choice in everyday activities.1
A disconnect between what is taught in school and what interests students drives a decrease in motivation and achievement, notably among boys. Thus, giving students more say in what they learn can play an important role in increasing motivation, attention and learning–even when the material is challenging.2
Student grades, attendance and conduct improve when they practice a learning technique where they imagine a desired future, think through potential challenges and then plot a course to surmount those challenges. However this practice is not widespread, so there have been no systematic reviews of personal development or learning plans.3
1. Learner Led Element #1
Co-design learning experiences
2. Learner Led Element #2
Articulate interests, strengths and needs
3. Learner Led Element #4
Partner in setting learning goals and plans