Adopting a Learner-Centered Methodology at Sultan Qaboos University

Salma Al-Humaidi


Sultan Qaboos University implemented a project for adopting a learner-centered methodology in the preparation program of the teacher-trainees of English at the College of Education. The learning materials package used in the project was developed as a result of the collaboration of two parities: Sultan Qaboos University and the American Partnership Initiative represented by Seward Incorporated. In the package, two independent variables have been manipulated: (1) the principles of the learner-centered method and the e-learning Moodle platform. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of this project. To this end, two research tools (an achievement test and a student attitudinal feedback form) were developed, validated and applied to 150 ELT student teachers divided into four experimental groups and three control groups. The students in the experimental groups cover the developed package whereas those in the control groups cover the same topics in the package adopting the traditional method, (i.e. lecturing and face-to-face teaching). Preliminary indicators and views of the participants (faculty and students) show that the project is effective and successful for more than one reason: (1) involving students in active learning processes and tasks, (2) minimizing the use of lectures as the principle mode of instruction, (3) giving students increased ownership of their learning, (4) fostering team work and cooperative learning, and (5) manipulating technology and e-learning efficiently. Numerating these benefits, however, does not mean the absence of problems to do with the quantity of the readings and assignments, use of technology, and the nature of the tasks accompanying the topics.

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