Learning Centers

​​​Overview

Typically, a learning center is a designed area within a laboratory or a classroom that provides students with opportunities to learn skills and/or apply concepts in experiential, hands-on ways. However, using today’s technological learning tools, you can also develop online or internet-based learning centers.

Typically, students visit centers to complete a series of specific assignments. Depending upon the objective for the assignment, students may work individually or in small groups or teams. Implementing learning centers into the instructional design of your course provides time for you to interact with students, assess their progress, and to offer meaningful feedback.

Practical Applications 

To develop a learning center that incorporates internet resources, consider the following questions and recommendations:

  1. What are your goals for the learning centers (e.g., what would you like students to learn or be able to do)? How do these goals support the achievement of the course student learning objectives (SLOs)?
  2. How will you assess student achievement of the learning center goals? Do you need to create a rubric that outlines your expectations?
  3. Decide how many centers to create based on your goals for the learning centers (and the alignment with course SLOs). How many Internet and how many real? Where will the centers be located?
  4. Determine if the learning centers will all contain the same assignment or if students will rotate through a series of learning centers. If the students will rotate through the centers, consider how the students will rotate in a specific order or if students can move to the next open center.
  5. Identify resources, supplies, website, etc. that enhance what you want students to learn. 
  6. Write a description of the center, providing students with information on what they are expected to do, learn, and produce. Develop “challenge” activities for students to complete if they finish a learning center early and/or cannot rotate to the next center.
  7. Place the learning center description or assignment near the center location or, if internet-based, post in the course Blackboard shell. Give the center a name.
  8. Decide how long center time will be and how many weeks the center will be open.
  9. Develop center rules with students and monitor compliance with established rules on a regular basis.
  10. Monitor student progress toward center goals by using informal assessment techniques. Provide specific and relevant feedback to students on an on-going basis (Scholastic, Inc., 2014).

Recommended Resources

  • To learn about a similar model that originated in college chemistry departments called Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL), visit https://pogil.org/.

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