Jobs for the Future’s Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative offers a unique approach to asking and answering some of the biggest questions we have about student-centered learning. Delving into crucial issues of practice related to personalized learning, competency-based education, extended instructional opportunities beyond the school day, and the role student agency and autonomy plays in shaping academic outcomes, the Research Collaborative will be supplying the field with much needed clarification and coherence. But that’s not all. The Research Collaborative also will be translating that research for practitioner and policymaker audiences and creating content in a variety of forms to help the general public recognize what student-centered learning can do for kids from all backgrounds, particularly those who have been least served by traditional methods. And if you’re someone who understands student-centered learning to be more than a powerful set of enriching and equity-enhancing practices—in other words, if you understand it as something akin to a movement—then the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative promises to be that movement’s home.
How will the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative accomplish this?
Through three main activities:
- Conducting new and innovative research on student-centered learning approaches to catalyze development and build coherence within the field
- Serving as the communicator and sense-maker of the Collaborative’s work as well as the curator and clearinghouse for all studies related to student-centered learning
- Continuing to build the evidence base of good implementation, and developing tools to help practitioners and policymakers apply research on student-centered learning in their unique settings
What, specifically, will the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative do?
The Research Collaborative has selected nine fellows who are either emerging or established leaders in policy, practice, or research with ongoing engagement in student-centered learning efforts, who want to sharpen their skills in translating research into sense-making tools and implementation strategies for practitioners and policymakers. It is also funding four studies on student-centered learning, two of which are basic exploratory research, and two of which use the techniques of improvement science.
Collaborative members will conduct original research on student-centered practices, curate existing scholarship for multiple audiences, and generally catalyze the field so that important findings make the necessary and often rare transition from research to practice. Because theory, practice, data, and decision-making are always intertwined, the Student-Centered Learning Research Collaborative will undertake its work in an integrated, interdisciplinary fashion. Focused initially on the New England region, the goal of the collaborative will be to bring a variety of core stakeholders together to make measurable improvements in the way we understand and implement student-centered principles in today’s schools. A crucial part of the Collaborative’s work will be to identify the institutional conduits where new knowledge will produce the most positive change—particularly for traditionally underserved students—and to determine the most compelling forms of public messaging that will help student-centered learning practices gain the greatest traction in our local, regional, and national conversations about education.