Student-Centred Learning: What Does it Look Like and Why is it Important?

At Impact(Ed) we’re passionate about the pursuit of quality education in underserved communities. Achieving quality education requires going beyond the confines of traditional teaching methods and the limitations of one-size-fits-all approaches.

When students are at the heart of their own learning journey, they are empowered to unlock their full potential. And whilst many schools around the world already embrace student-centred approaches, those with resource and training limitations are often forced to stick to traditional teaching methods. 

Impact(Ed) puts a big emphasis on teacher professional development, especially in Nigeria and Kenya. One of the key parts of this training is student-centred learning. 

But what does that really mean? And why is it so important? 


  • From passive to active learning: 

In student-centred learning, students go from being passive learners to active participants in their own educational adventure. This means interactive activities, critical thinking, teamwork –  digging deep into concepts and gaining a solid understanding. Along the way, learners pick up must-have skills like problem-solving, communication, and collaboration. It’s all about getting hands-on and making learning an exciting journey.

In Impact(Ed) trained teacher classrooms, a small example of this is teachers setting up the room so that students face each other. This makes everything more dynamic, and encourages interaction and collaboration. It also sees the teacher become more of a facilitator than a ‘lecturer’. Below is one of our videos that we use as part of our teacher training series. 

Teacher Training Series: Student-Centered Learning from Impact(Ed) International on Vimeo.

  • Tailoring to individual needs:

Each student is unique, with different strengths, interests, and learning styles. Our trained teachers adapt to students’ individual needs, allowing them to learn at their own pace and explore their passions.

Teacher Rita and her students Anita and Maureen in Kenya are a great example of this. Watch the video and feel their contagious energy through your screen. 

  • Critical thinking and creativity:

Key to student-centred learning is critical thinking and creativity. In today’s tech-driven world, it’s even more crucial to encourage students to question, analyze, and think independently. With artificial intelligence advancements and the prevalence of fake news, thinking critically and developing innovative problem-solving skills becomes paramount. 

Our trained teachers encourage students to engage in brainstorming, comparing and contrasting, and critical analysis. They equip learners with valuable tools such as Venn diagrams and classroom debates, while asking thought-provoking questions that require evidence-based reasoning to support opinions.

  • Empowering students:

When students feel empowered, they step up and own their education. This promotes independence, responsibility, and self-motivation inside and outside of the classroom

Empowered students express their voices and perspectives which helps promote equal opportunities for all students, regardless of their gender or socio-economic status. Its focus on critical thinking means learners can analyze social norms, challenge gender-based discrimination, and advocate for positive change.

A real-word example of this is Halima in Nigeria, watch her story below.

  • Promoting lifelong learning and adaptability:

In a rapidly changing world, fostering a love for learning and adaptability is crucial. Student-centred learning can instil a lifelong passion for learning, embracing new technologies, and adapting to evolving contexts. This mindset helps learners to navigate future challenges and seize opportunities too.


Student-centred learning is about much more than academic achievement. It’s about  nurturing well-rounded individuals who are curious, independent, and self-motivated. When practised by trained teachers, student-centred learning can be transformative to learners both inside and outside the classroom.