“Learner-centered Open University”
The strategies for Future NTU center upon the learning issues identified from the self- actualization loops to propose actionable execution plans according to the categorized internal and external factors.
Many of the identified learning issues are intertwined with development and cultivation of the learner. Strategically, the university can start from providing external stimuli to create an optimal environment and better learning experiences. This could subsequently initiate the internal transformation of the learners encouraging them to explore the questions such as “ who am I” and “where do I want to be”.
As a result, we prioritized on transforming the environment and system in hopes of building a learner-centered open university (Figure 3).
The so-called “learner-centered” approach cannot be simplified as “student-centered”. Both terms focus the gaze on the learners and in most scenarios learners are referring to students.
The learners here in Future NTU include all participants within the university education, including the president, senior management, faculty, administrators, alumni and students. The learner identity should emerge spontaneously regardless of the ranks and roles, which would allow the development of the self-awareness of the learner attitude. The atmosphere and culture arising from this would be the true “learner-centered” spirit of Future NTU.
The “open university” here implies breaking the restrictions regarding when to learn, where to learn and how to learn. For example, online courses allow students to pace their own studies. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities have switched their courses to remote teaching. Students are no longer required to be physically present at fixed locations to learn. In addition to opening up the system, Future NTU aims at providing guidance and resources while maintaining a flexible system. Even if learners have all the freedom to learn, they (faculty, staff and students included) still may not know what to choose from. Learners need timely and appropriate guidance for the three external phases of the self- actualization loop, namely inspiration, cultivation and reflection, to eventually become those who can “pioneer the future.”