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What is Learner-Centered Education?

Military School for Kids

Debates over how to best educate future generations are constant and ongoing. New types of educational systems have been developed and tested in efforts to advance our society and solve the problems of today and the future. Among the most prominent of these is the concept of ‘learner-centered education’, an approach to learning that places students in more active roles and teachers in a position of guidance and mentorship rather than solely instructional. This type of approach is well suited to fostering a new generation of leaders and critical thinkers that are often produced from a distinguished military school for kids, like Massanutten. 

Massanutten Military Academy ranks as one of the top private military schools in Virginia, providing advanced education to students from all over the world. Our curriculum is attuned to creating global-minded students and well-rounded individuals capable of strong critical thinking and leadership skills. It includes college-level courses and electives in STEM and art, along with a rigorous set of courses in core curricula. If you are thinking of sending your student to a historic academy with an eye toward the future, consider Massanutten Military Academy. 

Below, we define and describe aspects of learner-centered education: 

“Learner-Centered Education” Defined

Learner-centered education is a teaching approach that puts students in a more central and active role in the learning process. In this approach, teachers or instructors take on the roles of mentors or facilitators, providing students with proper guidance toward the knowledge they seek.  

In a recent study regarding this approach to education, the authors state that learner-centric environments contain five main interrelated elements that ensure the learning process is:


  • “Competency-based” – lessons should encourage students to demonstrate that they have mastered certain skills or can apply the level of knowledge they are expected to learn rather than memorize a number of facts, procedures, and ideas.

  • “Personalized, relevant, and contextualized” – the learning process is tailored to each student’s needs, passions, and personal circumstances, ensuring they feel connected to the overall academic experience.

  • “Socially embedded” – students aren’t independent of each other but share connections and experiences in a learning community where they know, accept, and belong together as learners.

  • “Open-walled” – learning environments aren’t only located in centralized locations (i.e. classrooms) nor disconnected from the outside world but can exist anywhere at any time, whether online, in a classroom, at museums or other cultural institutions, etc. with lessons and lectures involving world issues or guest presenters from outside the regular faculty.

  • Providing “learner agency” – students are given a level of personal choice in what is being learned and that learning takes place within the particular learning environment they are in, hence giving them a degree of agency in their education.

These elements form the basis of a learner-centered education system. A method that we at Massanutten have worked to implement and sustain within our military school for kids and young adults. 

Massanutten’s Commitment to Learner-Centered Education

To ensure our students receive a holistic, personalized education, Massanutten Military Academy seeks to provide a learner-centric environment. 

In many ways, we already implement this model of educational instruction. For example, we maintain small class sizes so instructors can focus on the individual needs of each student-cadet. We also provide a wide array of STEM and elective courses that provide hands-on learning experiences. 


As practices and strategies for implementing learner-centered education continue to develop, we hope to use them in forming our academy’s curriculum in the coming years.  

Massanutten Military Academy: A Global-Minded Military School for Kids

Learner-centered education may be the future approach to education, and its concepts certainly influence our academic environment at Massanutten Military Academy. At our advanced military school for kids, we hope to create a curriculum that supports self-discipline, responsibility, and leadership, while also creating character-building experiences that develop our students into strong individuals with open minds. We teach thinking through a global, holistic perspective while providing hands-on lessons that allow students to learn for themselves and gain new skills. Contact us at (540) 459-2167 if you are interested in enrolling your child at our academy or fill out our form to receive more information on Massanutten.

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