In the traditional approach to secondary/post-secondary education, the burden of communicating course material resides primarily with the instructor. In Student-Centered-Instruction (SCI), some of this burden is shifted to the students. SCI is a broad approach that includes such techniques as substituting active-learning experiences for lectures, holding students responsible for material that has not been explicitly discussed in class, assigning open-ended problems and problems requiring critical or creative thinking that cannot be solved by following text-examples, involving students in simulations and role-plays, assigning a variety of unconventional writing exercises, and using self-paced and/or cooperative (team-based) learning.
In traditional instruction, the teacher's primary functions are lecturing, designing assignments and tests, and grading; in SCI, the teacher still has these functions but also provides students with opportunities to learn independently and from one another and coaches them in the skills they need to do so effectively. In recent decades, the education literature has described a wide variety of student-centered-instructional methods and offered countless demonstrations that properly implemented SCI leads to increased motivation to learn, greater retention of knowledge, deeper understanding, and more positive attitudes toward the subject being taught.