Moving to a Learner-Centred Practice in a Community College School of Business Program
Grimes, Kimberlea Anne
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Five years ago a Canadian Community College School of Business program undertook the task of redesigning its curriculum using feedback from focus groups with local leaders from a wide variety of businesses. The feedback indicated a perceived need to create a better way of teaching the college learner. The college began to look for a more effective way to address the needs of the college learner, and learner-centered theory became a starting point in the process. One approach, learner-centered reform, has become a part of a larger process involving curriculum, institutional, and pedagogical reform in undergraduate education (Barr & Tagg, 1995; O’Banion, 1999; Parekh, 2007). A learner-centered curriculum takes time, collective energy of all involved, and resources (Hubball, Gold, Mighty, & Britnell, 2007). This redesign took place over an 18-month period with faculty from each of the programs along with a facilitator for the process. The approach of “What do learners need to be able to do when they graduate?” was at the forefront of the planning process. It was critical that the outcomes that were created have meaning and be relevant to the learner in a professional and individual context (Hubball & Burt, 2004). The work of this thesis is to map the curriculum looking for any gaps or areas of concern prior to conducting online surveys with faculty and learners. The questions addressed in this study are: (1) Was this curriculum change learner-centered? (2) Did the faculty feel the curriculum was effective? (3) Did the curriculum change serve the needs of the learners? These questions are addressed through a curriculum mapping exercise and two online surveys, one for faculty and one for learners. The results of the surveys were supportive of learner-centered theory occurring in this college curriculum. The results did show some differences among the three School of Business programs. It is these results that are discussed in this thesis.