Curriculum Development: Are you able to evaluate the Learner Centered Designs its advantages and shortcomings and its efficacy in the teaching-learning environment today?

CHAPTER FIVE
CURRICULUM DESIGN

5b i). Evaluate the LearnerCenteredd Designs its advantages and shortcomings and its efficacy in the teaching-learning environment today.

Learner Centred Design

The curriculum designs, which come under the name learner-centered, may take various forms. Some curriculum experts refer to them as child-centered or individualized approaches. It is the curriculum planners who decide how the design should be organized.

This design puts great emphasis upon individual development. The curriculum is therefore organized around needs, interests and purposes of students who attend to particular subject matter. Advocates of the design believe that while developing the curriculum, great attention should be paid to what is known about human growth, development and learning. But due to the nature of human beings, planning any curriculum of this type in detail before the students arrive should be avoided. When students have arrived, an attempt can be made to identify their varied concerns, interests, and priorities and then develop appropriate topics to address meaningful issues.

However, this type of curriculum design has not been popular in developing parts of the world for various reasons, which we shall identify in the following paragraphs. Only in well-developed nations has this design been practised to some extent because they have enough manpower and resources.

Advantages of Learner-Centred Design

People learn only what they experience and that learning which is related to active purposes and is rooted in experience translated itself into behaviour changes. Children like best those things that are attached to solving actual problems that help in meeting  real needs or that connect with some active interest. Learning in its true sense is an active transaction.

Some of the advantages given by the advocates of the learner-centered design are as follows:

  • The needs and interests of students are considered in the section and organization of content.
  • Since the needs and interests of students are considered in the planning of students work for whatever will be applicable to the outside world.

Criticism of Learner Centred Design

There are disadvantages of the learner-centered design. Those who challenge this type of curriculum design argue that, the needs and interests of students may not be valid or long lasting.

  • The interests and needs of students may not reflect specific areas of knowledge that could be essential for successful functioning in the society in general. Quite often, it has been observed that the needs and interests of students are not those that are important for society in general.
  • Interests and needs of students are usually short-lived, change with time and are influenced by the available conditions. Students may develop new needs and  interests based on external influences within the society.
  • Another limitation of this design is that we may not be in a better position or assumption to know enough about human growth, development and learning to be able to plan for individual students as stated above. The nature of our education system and the Kenyan society for whom the system is intended may not permit learner-centred curriculum design to be implemented effectively.
  • Another important limitation of this design is that is expensive to produce materials to satisfy the needs and interests, of individual students in a school. Imagine what  would happen in our school if we were to implement this type of curriculum design.
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