OPEN ACCESSJanuary 19, 2006

Introduction to Learner-Centered Instructional Design

    Jack Scott1, Sheila Chauvin2
    1 Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans
    2 Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans


    Introduction: This workshop is designed to introduce interested faculty members, fellows, residents, graduate students, and advanced health professions students to the basic principles of instructional design, particularly in terms of designing learner-centered teaching and learning practices. Workshop participants will be able to apply basic principles of instructional design systematically to their teaching practices, to write specific and observable learner-centered objectives, incorporate relevant aspects of learner-centered teaching techniques, and to increase their awareness of challenges and strategies for facilitating effective instructional design and innovation. Methods: The 2-hour workshop is a self-contained, face-to-face session and includes a mix of short, didactic presentations reinforced through several hands-on individual, paired, and small-group activities that culminate in large-group debriefing and discussion. Participants are encouraged to bring an example of their own teaching materials for use in the hands-on activities to enhance meaningfulness, personalization, and potential for real-life practical application following completion of the workshop. The resource includes a set of PowerPoint slides, a facilitator manual, and participant materials. Two additional files are included that contain master copies of a transparency that corresponds to one of the small-group activities and a set of pre- and postworkshop questionnaires for evaluation and participant feedback. Results: Results of the pre- and postworkshop questionnaire have revealed consistent and statistically significant (p < .05) positive gains (postscores minus prescores) for self-confidence in abilities to use knowledge and perform skills related to learning objectives. Postworkshop effectiveness items are rated consistently well above the midpoint on a 5-point Likert type scale, with mode responses between 4 and 5. Narrative feedback reveals that content and skills addressed in workshop discussions and activities are highly relevant to teaching practices. Participants value the variety of activities, the focus on learners' involvement, the blend of conceptual basis and practical application, and the opportunity to learn with and from colleagues across the health sciences center. Discussion: The workshop is effective in a 2-hour format, but time management is critical. This should be no problem for experienced workshop facilitators, but for those who may be new to such experiences, focused practice and good preparation are particularly key. Expanding the workshop time allotment or modifying the number of format of activities may be helpful, but caution should be exercised. The order and combination of content and skill application through hands-on practice and debriefing discussions has been a very positive feature of the workshop for achieving outcomes. If the workshop can be offered in a 2.5 or 3-hour format then there is valuable opportunity to increase hands-on practice, in-depth discussion, and learning from and with real-life examples and colleagues' experiences, questions, and comments. The workshop can also be offered as two, 1-hour sessions,

    Educational Objectives

    By the end of this module, the learner will be able to:

    1. Utilize basic principles of instructional design to plan curricula, courses, and lessons.

    2. Select teaching and learning methods that are appropriate for content and objectives.

    3. Design curricula, courses, and lessons that reflect learner input and active involvement.

    4. Write learner-centered, performance-based objectives for a course or instructional unit.

    5. Identify potential challenges, resources, and strategies to facilitate effective learner-centered instructional innovation.