Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

The Effectiveness of Student-Centred Learning in the Development of A New Communication Curriculum in China

By Hua Zhong


This study examines the introduction of a new communications key skills course in Chinese vocational education colleges, using a student-centred learning approach. This was established in response to the changing demands of employers in China’s new environment of economic growth and competition. The research explores teachers’ and students’ understanding of key skills and their attitudes to student centred learning, an approach very different to China’s traditional didactic methods. The effects of the new course are examined and barriers to effective implementation are analysed.\ud \ud The research was based on five higher education institutions. Both quantitative and qualitative techniques were used. Three questionnaires were employed, and three of the institutions were singled out for more detailed qualitative analysis. Through a series of case studies, focus groups, interviews and class observations data was gathered to reveal underlying attitudes towards the experiences of the new course.\ud \ud Both teachers and students welcomed the new approach. It was found to facilitate the development of complex communication ‘key skills’, as students were actively involved, working in groups and learning from each other. The role of the teacher changed significantly, from ‘provider of information’ to facilitator of learning. Designing activities and resources to motivate students and meet their learning needs was a new experience for Chinese teachers, as curriculum development and course textbooks had always been provided centrally.\ud \ud Teachers encountered a number of barriers to successful course implementation; these included difficulties in adjusting to the new methods; lack of suitable resources; poor staff development and lack of support from college management. However, both teachers and students noted an increase in students’ confidence and self-awareness resulting from the new course. Students particularly appreciated the benefits that this might bring in terms of their employability as well as their social capabilities.\ud Recommendations are made for the further development of a student-centred learning model for communication course in Chinese vocational colleges

Topics: L1, LB2300, LG
OAI identifier:

Suggested articles


  1. (2000). (Eds) Handbook of Qualitative Research
  2. (2005). (translated by Lee)
  3. (2001). 21st Century Communication Broadstairs,
  4. (2000). A First Look at Communication Theory,
  5. (1993). A Generalized Graphic Model of communication,
  6. (2000). A guide to improving teaching method: a handbook for teachers in university and colleges.
  7. (1996). A Guide to Student-Centred Learning,
  8. (2004). A Handbook for Teacher Research: From Design to Implementation, Berkshire:
  9. (2006). A Model for Communication Skills Assessment Across the Undergraduate Curriculum,
  10. (1999). A Reformulation of the Theory of Experiential Learning Appropriate for Instruction in Formal Business Education,
  11. (2003). A Testing Issue: key skills assessment
  12. (2003). A Testing Issue: key skills assessment in
  13. (2005). A.(1993) Achieving Strategic Coherence in HRD Through Competence-Based Management and Organization Development, In: Grzeda, M.M.(2005) In competence we trust? Addressing Conceptual Ambiguity,
  14. (1989). About Quality Education in Compulsory Education, In
  15. (2002). Accessing education effectively widening participation, Stoke-on –Trent:
  16. (1998). Addressing Difficulties with Student-centred learning Instruction,
  17. (2002). Alfred Schutz, phenomenology and research methodology for information behaviour research, [online] available at:,
  18. (2000). Allow me! A Guide to Promoting Communication Skills in Adults with Developmental Delays,
  19. (2006). An exploration of the relationship between academic and experiential learning approaches in vocational education,
  20. (2002). An Integrated and Experience-based Approach to Social Work Education : The Newcastle Model, Social work and
  21. (1975). An Introduction to Curriculum Research and Development,
  22. (1996). An Investigation of the Structure of Group James,
  23. (2005). Assessing and Developing Communication and Thinking Skills in People with Autism and Communication Difficulties: a Toolkit for Parents and Professionals,
  24. (2003). Assessment of Communicating Systems on the Basis of an Ecological Conceptual Framework,
  25. (2001). Assessment Reform of the New Curriculum, Beijing: Beijing Capital Normal
  26. (1996). Authentic Assessment and Skill Development, In
  27. (1996). Beyond competence: the National Council for Vocational Qualifications Framework and Challenge to Higher Education in the New Millennium Aldershot:
  28. (2000). Body Matters in Vocational Education: the Case of the Competently Trained,
  29. (2001). Bridging Pedagogic Gaps: conceptual discontinuities in
  30. (2001). Building School Capacity Through Professional Development: Conceptural and Empirical Considerations,
  31. (1989). Business and Administrative Communication,
  32. (1989). Calling Education to Account, London:
  33. (2004). Career Skills : Opening Doors into the Job Market,
  34. (2002). Case Research in Operations Management,
  35. (2000). Case Studies, In
  36. (2001). Case Study Methodology as a Means of Theory Building:
  37. (1988). Case Study Research in Education: A Qualitative Approach,
  38. (2005). Challenging Current Policies and Policy Makers’ Thinking on Generic Skills,
  39. (2002). Charting a Communication Pathway: Using Assessment to Guide Curriculum Development in a Re-vitalized General Education Plan,
  40. (2005). China’s Economic Rise: Implications for East Asian Growth and Integration [on line] available at: http: //www. /pdd/publication /bulletin 04%2D05/bulletin04%2D05%5Fch2pdf. (accessed 24/02/06) Wang,
  41. (1993). Class and Skills: Changing Divisions of Knowledge and Labour,
  42. (1996). Clerical-Administrative Workers’ Conceptions of Their Competence in Their Job,
  43. (2005). Cognitive Tools and Student-Centred Learning: Rethinking Tools, Functions and Applications,
  44. (1990). Common Learning Outcomes: Core Skills
  45. (2006). Communicating science: exploring reflexive pedagogical approaches,
  46. (1999). Communication and Social Skills Training for Peer Helpers: An
  47. (1996). Communication at Work,
  48. (2002). Communication Education: The Spiral Continues,
  49. (1996). Communication Studies,
  50. (1993). Communication Studies: An Introductory Reader,
  51. (1986). Communication-Related Abilities and Upward Mobility: A Longitudinal Investigation,
  52. (2005). Communication, Cultural and Media Studies,
  53. (2007). Communication: Humanities Core Discipline,
  54. (2002). Competence –Based Approaches: a Discussion of Issues for Professional Groups,
  55. (1991). Competence-Based Training,
  56. (2004). Competence–Based VET in the Netherlands: Background and Pitfalls,
  57. (1994). Competence, Education and NVQs,
  58. (2006). Constructing Grounded Theory, London:Sage Publication.
  59. (2000). Constructivism, In
  60. (1998). Contextualising Public Policy
  61. (2007). Cooperative Learning, Integrating Theory and Practice,
  62. (1986). Core skills in communication,
  63. (1996). Core skills—the continuing debate, In
  64. (1978). Creative and Intelligence, In
  65. (1992). Culture Studies: An Introduction, In
  66. (1996). Curriculum Action Research: A Handbook of Methods and Resources for the Reflective Practitioner,
  67. (1982). Curriculum Theory and Practice,
  68. (2004). Curriculum Theory and Practice, (5th edn)
  69. (2008). Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Teacher Culture: from Isolation to Cooperation, Theory and
  70. (1966). Democracy and Education,
  71. (1992). Developing and Piloting the NCVQ Core Skills Units: An Outline of Method and Summary of Findings,
  72. (2003). Developing and using a range of teaching and learning techniques,
  73. (2008). Discussion of Teacher’s Abilities in Curriculum Development in the Further Education Sector,
  74. (2000). Doing Qualitative Research: A practical Handbook,
  75. (2007). Education and Skills (DfES)
  76. (2005). Embedded Humanism Sentiment to promote individual student development,
  77. (2000). Embedding Key Skills in a Traditional University In
  78. (2001). Emotion Communication and Relationship Context,
  79. (2000). Emotions for a Motion: Rapid Development of Believable Pathematic Agents in Intelligent Virtual Environments,
  80. (2004). Empowering or Ensnaring? The Implications of Outcome-based Assessment
  81. (1992). Encounters with the Self,
  82. (2008). Establishing a Vocational Education System blending industry and school, China Education Newspaper,
  83. (2004). Establishing the Central Role of the Student in Teaching and Learning Through the Student-Centred Learning Approach,
  84. (1995). Evaluating a Course: Practical Strategies for Teachers, Lecturers and Trainers,
  85. (2002). Evaluating online CPD using educational criteria derived from the experiential learning cycle,
  86. (2001). Evaluating University Teaching: Time to Take Stock,
  87. (1972). Evaluation as illumination: a new approach to the Study of Innovatory Programs,
  88. (2008). Examination Involving Students as Peer Examiners,
  89. (1974). Experience and Education,
  90. (1984). Experiential Learning,
  91. (1999). Experiential Learning: Issues for Supervision,
  92. (2009). Explain to Your Partner’: Teachers’ Instructional Practices and Students’ Dialogue in Small Groups,
  93. (1977). Explication and Test of a
  94. (2007). Explicitly Linking Teaching and Assessment of Communication Skills,
  95. (2004). Exploring the Future Roles and Capabilities of Customer Service Professionals,
  96. (1999). Exploring Work Place Values,
  97. (2005). Facing Dilemmas: Teacher-Educators’ Ways of Constructing a
  98. (2002). Focus on the New Curriculum - The Analysis of New Difficulty Points, Beijing: Capital Normal
  99. (1996). Focus Versus Nominal Group Interviews: a Comparative Analysis,
  100. (2001). Focusing Attention on Teaching Reform in a Vocational Technical Teachers College Facing Enlarging Enrolment,
  101. (2006). Formative assessment and self-regulated learning: a model and seven principles of good feedback practice,
  102. (2007). Forward the Higher Quality of Teaching: The Definition,
  103. (2008). Four Orientations of Vocational Education Development,
  104. (1994). Freedom to Learn,
  105. (2005). From a Great People’s Educationalist to an Advocator who had Faith in the Omnipotent of Education—On the Re-evaluation of TaoXingZhi’s Educational Thought In the 1950s,
  106. (2006). FYE and the Basic Course: Insights from Theory and Practice, In
  107. (2008). General Knowledge Education: The Direction of Higher Education Reformation, China Education Newspaper,
  108. (1999). Getting Students to Learn About Information Systems Project Management: An Experiment
  109. (2001). Getting the Message Across: the problem of communicating assessment feedback,
  110. (2000). Good to talk? Live and Working in a Communication Culture,
  111. (2008). Government Work Report,
  112. (2000). Group Project Work and Student-Centred Active Learning: Two different experiences,
  113. (2008). Guiding training,
  114. (2003). Higher Education Students’ Attitudes to
  115. (2001). Illuminative Evaluation: Evaluating Clinical Supervision on its Performance Rather than the Applause,
  116. (2003). Implementation of educational reformation,
  117. (1990). Implementing Competence Based Vocational Education: A View from Within,
  118. (2003). Implementing Key Skills in Further Education: Perceptions and Issues,
  119. (1971). Implementing Organizational Innovations: a Sociological Analysis of Planned Change,
  120. (2005). In competence we trust? Addressing Conceptual Ambiguity,
  121. (1991). Innovation and Change,
  122. (2008). Integrating Authentic Assessment with Competence-Based Learning
  123. (1994). Integrating Core Skills: Support Materials for Implementation. A guide for GNVQ Practitioners London:
  124. (1985). Interpersonal Communication and the Quest for Personal Competence, In
  125. (1989). Interpretive Interactionism, London: Sage Publication Department for Education and Employment (DfEE)
  126. (2000). Introduction: The Discipline and Practice of Qualitative Research, In:
  127. (1998). Key Skills and Curriculum Reform,
  128. (2002). Key Skills for all? The Key Skills Qualification and Curriculum
  129. (2004). Key Skills for the Individual and The Organisation, In
  130. (2008). Learners, Learning and Educational Activity,
  131. (2001). Learning and Teaching
  132. (2001). Learning in personal trajectories of participation, In
  133. (2008). Learning outcomes: a conceptual analysis, Teaching
  134. (2004). Learning Through the Workplace,
  135. (2005). Liberal Education and Communication Across the Curriculum: A Response to Anthony Fleury,
  136. (2005). Making Learning Happen: a Guide for Post-compulsory Education,
  137. (1993). Making Sense of Experiential Learning,
  138. (2008). Maxims, Tacit Knowledge and Learning: Developing Expertise in Dry Stone Walling,
  139. (1971). Moral Action and Moral Education, In
  140. (1996). Navigating the Bumpy Road to Student-Centred Instruction,
  141. (1970). On Phenomenology and Social Relations,
  142. (1999). Outcome-based education: Part 3 - Assessment in outcome-based education,
  143. (1995). Outcome-based qualifications and the implications for learning,
  144. (1991). Outcomes: NVQs and the Emerging Model of Education and Training,
  145. P.(2003) Out-of Class Communication and Student Perceptions of Instructor Humour Orientation and Socio-Communication Style,
  146. (2001). Pedagogical Reform of the New Curriculum, Beijing: Beijing Capital Normal
  147. (2002). Pedagogy of the Oppressed,
  148. (1996). People Skills,
  149. (2008). Perceived Workplace Competences in Three Sites on the Chinese Mainland,
  150. (2000). Perceptions of the Teaching and Leadership Context and Its Relation to the Quality of Student Learning,
  151. (1969). Personal knowledge: Towards a Post –Critical Philosophy,
  152. (2002). Pioneering the Electronic School by Using Focus Group for Planning,
  153. (2008). Planning for Learning,
  154. (2001). Power and Positionality: Negotiating Insider/Outsider Status within and Cross Cultures,
  155. (2001). Power, Positionality and Practicality: Carrying out Fieldwork with Children,
  156. (2005). Preface, In
  157. (1976). Preparing Teachers for classroom accountability,
  158. (2005). Problem-based learning: future challenges for educational practice and research,
  159. (1997). Problem-based learning: measurable outcomes,
  160. (2007). Professional Key Skills Training and Assessment Criteria,
  161. (1996). Professions and competencies, In
  162. (2007). Prologue, In Training Book for Problem Solving Skills,
  163. (2004). Qualitative Research,
  164. (2005). Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement,
  165. (2001). Raising the Corporate Umbrella:
  166. (2002). Real World Research,
  167. (1997). Reconsidering Competence,
  168. (2002). Reform Traditional Education and develop innovation programme,
  169. (2001). Representation, Identification and Trust: Towards an
  170. (2001). Research and the Policy–Making Process, In
  171. (2001). Researching Policy Implementation: Interview Data Analysis in Institutional Contexts,
  172. (2007). Revisiting Key Skills: A Practical Framework for
  173. (1995). Sensemaking in Organisations, London: Sage Publication.
  174. (1991). Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation, Cambridge:
  175. (1995). Skill Acquisition and Human Performance,
  176. (2004). Skilled Interpersonal Communication Research, Theory and Practice,
  177. (1987). Skills for the future? In
  178. (1998). Social and Cognitive Approaches to Interpersonal Communication: Introduction and Overview, In
  179. (1993). Social Class, Language and Socialization,
  180. (1990). Social Perception,
  181. (1996). Social Processes and Linguistic Change: Time and History in Language, In
  182. (2004). Social Research Methods,
  183. (2005). Social Skills Assessment and Intervention,
  184. (1994). Social Skills in Interpersonal Communication,
  185. (2003). Social Skills Training with Children and Young People: Theory, Evidence and Practice,
  186. (1986). Social Skills Training with Children,
  187. (1998). Some Cognitive Consequences of Communication, In
  188. (2004). Strategies for Communication Skills
  189. (2004). Strategies for Communication Skills Development,
  190. (1997). Student-Centred Learning and Interactive Multimedia: Status, Issues and Implications,
  191. (2001). Surviving Your Dissertation,
  192. (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives : the classification of educational goals
  193. (2001). Teacher voice and ownership of curriculum change,
  194. (1991). Teacher-Centred and Student-Centred Instruction,
  195. (2007). Teachers Matter: Connecting Work, Lives and Effectiveness,
  196. (2003). Teaching and Training in Post-Compulsory Education,
  197. (2002). Teaching assistant's handbook,
  198. (1994). Teaching Competence in Initial and Continuing Vocational Training in the Federal Republic of Germany,
  199. (1989). Teaching Law and Education Reform,
  200. (1987). Teaching on Skills: a critique of classroom skills, In
  201. (2000). Teaching Training and Learning,
  202. (2000). Teaching Young Adults: A Handbook for Teachers in Post-compulsory Education,
  203. (2004). The Action Learning Handbook,
  204. (1973). The Adult Learner: A Neglected Species,
  205. (2004). The Announcement of Establishment for Key Skills Commission of National Occupation Skill Test Export Committee,
  206. (2010). The Art of Teaching,
  207. (2004). The Assignment of The Research,
  208. (2005). The Blue Book of Chinese Employment,
  209. (2004). The Competence Affair, or Why Vocational Education and Training Urgently Needs a New Understanding of Learning,
  210. (1999). The Competence and Outcome movement: the landscape of research
  211. (2007). The Concept of Competence in the Development of Vocational Education and Training in Selected EU Member States: a Critical Analysis,
  212. (1993). The Contours of High Modernity,
  213. (2000). The Debate of “The Two Es” and the Training of Tertiary Qualified Personnel,
  214. (2006). The Educational Impact of Team Skills Training: Preparing Students to Work in
  215. (2005). The empirical determination of key skills from an economic perspective,
  216. (2001). The Evolution of Key Skills: Towards a Tawney Paradigm,
  217. (1972). The Experimental Analysis of Social Performance, In
  218. (2007). The Good Research Guide, Berkshire:
  219. (2000). The Good Teacher Is More Than a Lecturer: The Twelve Roles of the Teacher,
  220. (2008). The Great Reform, Big Development and Big Enhancement,
  221. (2008). The Great Vitality of Tao Xingzhi’s Educational Thinking, Download Centre of Chinese Thesis [08-12-16 09:57:00 ], cw2112549, available at: [accessed
  222. (1994). The Higher Education in England; History and Actuality, ShangHai: ShangHai Foreign Language
  223. (2003). The Historical Function of the Chinese Keju System,
  224. (2001). The How and the Why: Competences and Holistic Practice,
  225. (1989). The Learner-Centred Curriculum,
  226. (2001). The Life- Based curriculum and thinking of Tao Xingzhi,
  227. (2005). The Moral Dimension of Personal and Social Education, Pastoral Care
  228. (2001). The National Skills Development Strategy,
  229. (2008). The Nature of Contemporary Heuristic Teaching and its Implementation,
  230. (1989). The New Evaluation, In
  231. (1991). The New Meaning of Educational Change,
  232. (2007). The New Meaning of Educational Change, (4th edn)
  233. (2001). The New Model of Integrated Course: The Theory and Practice of Integrated Learning,
  234. (2003). The Oppressed Students
  235. (1972). The Phenomenology of the Social World,
  236. (2006). The Philosophy Foundation of Constructive
  237. (2008). The Possibility of the Implementation of Heuristic [education]
  238. (2008). The Problems Teachers and Students Encountered During The Implementation of the Activity Curriculum,
  239. (2006). The Relationships of Student End-of-Class Motivation with Teacher Communication Behaviours and Instructional Outcome,
  240. (1999). The Resolution: To Force Education Reformation to Push Capability Education, Beijing: China Education Daily, p 1.
  241. (2000). The Return of Large Scale Reform,
  242. (2000). The Rhetoric and Reality
  243. (1999). The Role of Group Learning in Building Social Capital,
  244. (2004). The Social Examined Life,
  245. (1936). The Specific Nature of Life Education, Life Education 3 (2) .[on line] Avaluable at:,
  246. (2005). The Student Learning Process: Learning Style or Learning Approaches? Teaching
  247. (2008). The Thinking on the Current Situation of Class Monitors in Private School, China Hang-Zhou Teacher’s website, Available at, accessed 11,
  248. (2008). The Three Letters Bible,
  249. (1999). The Validity and Reliability of Assessments and Self-assessments of Work-based Learning,
  250. (2008). Theories, Methods and Learning,
  251. (1978). Theory and Practice of Curriculum Studies,
  252. (2006). Thinking about China
  253. (1989). Thinking About Quality Education, In
  254. (2005). Thinking and Practice
  255. (2000). Three Epistemological Stances for Qualitative Inquiry, In Denzin,
  256. (2008). To Create a New Education Progress, China Education Newspaper,
  257. (1984). Towards a Competence-Based System, London: Further Education Unit.
  258. (1996). Towards a holistic model of professional competence,
  259. (2008). Training Handbook of Communication Skills,
  260. (2004). Transformational leadership and team performance,
  261. (2005). Understanding Teaching Excellence
  262. (2001). Use of Focus Group as a Tool for Evaluating Programs for Children and Families,
  263. (2006). Using a Media Centre to Facilitate Team-Based Learning,
  264. (2006). Using Thematic Analysis in Psychology, In: Qualitative Research in Psychology,
  265. (2003). Validity and Reliability Test in Case Study Research: A Literature Review with ‘Hands-on’ application in each research phase
  266. (2000). Variation in Practice: Testing A Teaching Strategy for Promoting Understanding, In
  267. (1989). Various Perspectives of Quality Education, In
  268. (2007). Vocational Activities Based Teaching and Practice,
  269. (2000). Vocational Education Reformation and Exploration,
  270. (2001). Vocational Knowledge and Its Specification,
  271. (1999). Vocational Studies, Lifelong Learning and Social Value: Investigating Education, Training and NVQs Under the New
  272. (1993). What is Communication? In
  273. (2006). What is interactive teaching and learning? (
  274. (2002). What We Should Teach and How Should We Teach It,
  275. (1999). Where’s the Competence in Competence-Based Education and Training?
  276. (2004). Zoom in Core: Higher Vocational Education curriculum development and establishment,

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.