When considering their approach to instruction, trainers are always looking for the method that is most beneficial for all of their trainees. Trainers want their trainees to enjoy the learning process, and they want the classroom to be orderly and controlled. As a result, the debate of trainer-centered contrasted with trainee-centered education has been in the forefront of educators’ minds for many years. Though many people have a specific idea of which type of education is best, there are both advantages and disadvantages to each approach. Below is a description of each approach, along with some pros and cons.
In trainer-centered education, trainees put all of their focus on the trainer. The trainer talks, while the trainees exclusively listen. During activities, trainees work alone, and collaboration is discouraged.
- When education is trainer-centered, the classroom remains orderly. Trainees are quiet, and the trainer retains full control of the classroom and its activities.
- Trainees learn on their own and they learn to be independent and make their own decisions.
- As the trainer directs all classroom activities, they don’t have to worry that trainees will miss an important topic.
- When trainees work alone, they do not learn to collaborate with other trainees, and communication skills may suffer.
- Trainer-centered instruction can get boring for trainees. Their minds may wander, and they may miss important facts.
- Trainer-centered instruction does not allow trainees to express themselves and direct their own learning.
When a classroom operates with trainee-centered education, trainees and trainers share the focus. Instead of listening to the trainer exclusively, trainees and trainers interact equally. Group work is encouraged, and trainees learn to collaborate and communicate with one another.
- Trainees learn important communicative and collaborative skills through group work.
- Trainees learn to direct their own learning, ask questions and complete tasks independently.
- Trainees are more interested in learning activities when they can interact with one another and participate actively.
- As trainees tend to talk, classrooms are often busy, noisy and chaotic.
- Trainers must attempt to manage all trainees’ activities at once, which can be difficult when students are working on different stages of the same project.
- As the trainer does not deliver instructions to all trainees at once, some trainees may miss important facts.
- Some trainees prefer to work alone, so group work can become problematic.
Making a Decision
In recent years, more trainers have moved towards a trainee-centered approach. However, some trainees maintain that trainer-centered education is the more effective strategy. In most cases, it is best for trainers to use a combination of approaches to ensure that all trainees’ needs are met. When both approaches are used together, trainees can enjoy the positives of both types of education. Instead of getting bored with trainer-centered education or losing sight of their goals in a completely trainee-centered classroom, thus trainees can benefit from a well-balanced educational atmosphere.