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The focus of this year’s FNCE session was on moving from a teacher-centered approach to instruction toward a learnercentered learning experience. Teaching strategies of the past century are inadequate for preparing health professionals of the future.1 Frenk et al argues that education of health professionals has not kept pace with the changing demographics, complexities, and environmental influences on the health care system. We can no longer rely on teaching strategies that focus mainly on the acquisition of factual knowledge and professional socialization; we must move to-

ward transformative learning strategies that enhance collaborative skills, leadership attributes, and critical thinking.1 In addition, the Academy recognized the need for change in the 2011 Future Connections Summit report stating that “…the profession must foster learnercentered and transformative professional education that emphasizes leadership development, critical thinking for decision making and change, and competency

for a shared balance of power and gives students room to choose how and what they will learn.3 Guidelines and expectations are provided but how students choose to learn and demonstrate learning is less prescriptive. This puts more control of learning on the learner and less on the teacher. Teachers entrenched in TCI models may find it difficult to relinquish control. The second factor is content.

in the continuum of future practice…”.2 Implementation of learnercentered instruction strategies has the potential to better prepare health professionals for the future. Learner-centered instruction (LCI) puts the responsibility for learning in the students hands. The focus of LCI is on what the student will do to learn, and less on what the teacher does. The predominate teachercentered learning (TCI) model has been highly criticized for stifling students’ emotional and intellectual maturity as it leads to an emphasis on passive learning and learned helplessness.3,4 Wright outlines five key factors that differentiate LCI from TCI. The first factor is the balance of power. In TCI the teacher has all of the power and makes all of the decisions whereas LCI allows

In TCI, there is a heavy focus on covering content in contrast to LCI that takes a less is more approach with a focus on conceptualization rather than memorization of facts.3 Conceptualization requires use of higher order thinking skills, which may lead to enhance critical thinking. The role of the teacher is the third factor described by Wright. Using a LCI approach, the teacher becomes a facilitator or learning coach as opposed to the teacher as a giver of information. This leads directly into the fourth factor of responsibility for learning. The LCI model requires students to take an active role in the learning process and take responsibility for learning in contrast to the teacher taking all the responsibility for whether or not students learn.3

The final factor is how learning is evaluated. A TCI approach relies heavily on summative evaluation strategies, primarily exams. Since LCI is more of a coaching model, evaluation is more formative in nature and occurs at multiple steps in the learning process while utilizing a greater variety of evaluation tools such as brief summary papers, peer debates, peer teaching, or culminating projects. Additionally, students are given tools for selfevaluation and peer evaluation.3,5 The LCI model that takes the above five factors into account leads to a different learning experience for the student. Under a LCI model, students actively engage in applying, practicing, dis-

cussing, reflecting, and creating products in contrast to listening passively to lectures under the TCI model. The aim is to make learning more relevant and meaningful using real world context for enhanced problem solving and decision-making. Collaboration and social interactions between students and instructors are cornerstones of LCI as opposed to the individual, competitive environment of TCI. Students work together to create, find resources, and teach each other. LCI attempts to foster intrinsic motivation by asking questions that peak curiosity and giving students more control over their learning experiences. This interactive environment engages more of the students’ senses in the learning process and fosters the use higher order thinking

skills. Lastly, LCI recognizes the possibility of more than one way to accomplish a task in allowing more creativity in problem solving in comparison to TCI in which there is typically only one right way and answer.3,5,6 There are many established and potential benefits of LCI. Benefits include increased understanding, retention, engagement, and interest in learning. Additionally, motivation, sense of empowerment, critical thinking, and ability to apply new information is also increased.4,5,7 Both students and faculty report greater satisfaction with LCI. An important aspect of LCI is that it accommodates multiple learning styles which may account for many of its benefits mentioned above. Anxiety, desire to cheat, and learned helplessness is likely to be reduced when LCI strategies are applied.4,5 Furthermore, LCI encourages curiosity, desire for lifelong learning and self-regulated learning3,7; traits that are essential for the career advancement and growth of health professionals. Both the Academy’s Education and Workforce taskforces conclude that the future needs of dietetics professionals require critical thinking, lifelong desire for learning, increased understanding and intellectual capacity, adaptability, leadership, and collaboration skills to name a few.8 Adopting LCI strategies within dietetics or other health professional education will assist in creating professionals prepared for future roles in the healthcare field.

In summary, moving from a predominately TCI model to an LCI model can help move the needle to traits that are desirable for future dietetics and other health professionals. LCI is active learning and allows students to take charge of how and what they will learn. Hansen and Stephens believe LCI provides a blueprint for empowering learners to become independent, self-critical thinkers, leaders with courage to take risks and be different, value collaboration and involvement, and instill intrinsic value for continued personal growth and learning.4

“I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.�

NEHP Member News Laura Matarese, PhD, RD, LDN, FADA is Guest Editor on malnutrition for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ newly launched Resource Center. The Malnutrition Resource Center (http:// offers peer-reviewed content that may be used as educational tools for health practitioners. The site is a free-access forum and features a journal article collection, educational videos, Abbott Nutritional Health Institute educational webcasts and resource links, Academy webcasts, quick polls, and many other references and resources on malnutrition.

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Cancer Screening and Prevention Diabetes Everyday Health and Wellness Older Adults Parents

Obesity causes information - Concise research summaries on issues and factors that contribute to the obesity epidemic. The Healthy Weight Checklist - Healthy diet and lifestyle tips for obesity prevention. In The News - RSS feed of obesity prevention headlines from around the Web.

Nemours’ offers an individual site for parents, kids, teens, and educators that includes age-specific games, experiments, FAQs, and resource kits for teaching kids to lead a healthy lifestyle. The kids’ and teens’ sites allow them to explore how the body works, easy recipes, and general health topics. is a similar resource geared towards nurses and teachers compiles tools such as the:  National Nutrient Database (http://ndb.nal. Search 8,000 foods for their nutritional content.  Information on Farmer’s Markets (http:// shopping-cooking-mealplanning/food-shoppingand-meal-planning/

farmers-markets-freshnutritious). Resources for easier, healthier, and cheaper food-shopping (http:// shopping-cooking-mealplanning/food-shoppingand-meal-planning).


The USDA collected a variety of resources to coincide with June being National Dairy Month. Resources include:  A PDF (http://www. TenTips/DGTipsheet 5GotYourDairyToday.pdf) with 10 tips to help you eat and drink more fat-free or lowfat dairy foods.  Games for kids and materials for teachers (http:// kids/pages/kidsteens. aspx) to help make learning about dairy fun.  Calcium and bone health resources (http:// healthymeals.nal. bulletin-board-resources/ calcium-and-bone-healthbulletin-board-resources).

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics names and reviews toprated, free smart-phone apps for managing weight, gluten-free diets, and diabetes: http:// content.aspx?id=6442467041. Foundation HealthCare Network created an app for users to look up nutritional information from over 100 popular restaurants and over 15,000 food items: http://www.healthyandfit The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also offers radio PSAs in both English and Spanish at These 30 second segments cover everything from portion control and eating healthy as you age to grocery tote safety.

A new whey protein microsite (http://www.wheyprotein.national contains downloadable educational information and resources about whey protein, including:  The latest research on whey protein, exercise recovery and healthy aging.  Fact sheets, recipes, and products.  Q & A section on nutrition issued addressed by a Whey Protein Advisory Panel.

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NEHP Winter Newsletter 2013