Orienting teaching toward the learning process

Acad Med. 2004 Mar;79(3):219-28. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200403000-00005.


Based on developments in educational psychology from the late 1980s, the authors present a model of an approach to teaching. Students' learning processes were analyzed to determine teacher functions. The learning-oriented teaching (LOT) model aims at following and guiding the learning process. The main characteristics of the model are (1) the components of learning: cognition (what to learn), affect (why learn), and metacognition (how to learn); and (2) the amount of guidance students need. If education aims at fostering one's ability to function independently in society, an important general objective should be that one learns how to fully and independently regulate his or her own learning; i.e., the ability to pursue one's professional life independently. This implies a transition from external guidance (from the teacher) through shared guidance (by the student together with the teacher) to internal guidance (by the student alone). This transition pertains not only to the cognitive component of learning (content) but also to the affective component (motives) and the metacognitive component (learning strategies). This model reflects a philosophy of internalization of the teacher's functions in a way that allows optimal independent learning after graduation. The model can be shown as a two-dimensional chart of learning components versus levels of guidance. It is further elaborated from learners' and teachers' perspectives. Examples of curriculum structure and teachers' activities are given to illustrate the model. Implications for curriculum development, course development, individual teaching moments, and educational research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Cognition
  • Education, Medical*
  • Emotions
  • Humans
  • Learning*
  • Models, Educational*
  • Social Control, Informal
  • Teaching / methods*