Student-centred learning in higher education: Implications for the Jamaican workplace


This paper explores the experience, impression and understanding of student centred learning by 44 business education students at a university in Jamaica. The study sought to establish whether such a learning approach enhances the competencies of students in accord with the demands made by employers for critical employee characteristics in the 21st century workplace, whilst also enhancing learning outcomes in students’ current studies. The research reported here was informed through two studies, using complementary methodologies in qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. The first study utilised a survey instrument, while the second employed focus groups. The findings revealed that students generally held positive views of student centred learning and that they believed it enhanced their learning experience in their current studies. However, they were not clear as to whether the approach was being utilised fully and/or effectively and whether current resources were adequate to support the effective implementation and maintenance of such an approach. Findings further revealed that many of the competencies developed through the practise of student centred learning are complimentary to not only desirable, but indeed, identified characteristics that the 21st century worker should be ideally equipped with, according to the International Labour Organisation (Brewer, 2013). These characteristics also being in accord with the demands of employers in Jamaica. This latter point being affirmed by a senior figure from the Jamaica Employers’ Federation through a one-on-one interview. The importance of “gearing” such learning at the tertiary level to the demands of employers for well prepared and effective employees that complement and indeed enhance the workplace is recognised as a national imperative, and thus policy, as developed through educational leadership should be in accord. This research posits that the utilisation of student centred learning will not only benefit learning at the tertiary level, it will also better prepare graduates for the workplace.


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Business teacher education, student centred learning, critical employability skills, Jamaica employers, human capital development, workplace.