Teaching Methods

Continuum of teaching and learning approaches

There are a wide array of teaching methods that can be utilized, which should be based on content, goals and learner ability.

Learner-centered approaches offer stark contrast to the traditional teacher-centered approach. Learner-centered teaching is focused on the student’s needs, abilities, interests and learning styles. The teacher’s role is to be a coach or facilitator of learning.

Much of the responsibility for learning is on the students to ask questions, explore, and problem-solve with guidance. The method acknowledges the student voice as central to the learning experience and requires students to be active, responsible participants in their own learning.

Teacher-centered learning is a more traditional approach with the teacher at the center in the active role and students in a passive, receptive role. The lecture is the standard form of the teacher-centered approach. This is used for communicating large amounts of material, new topics and background information in a short period of time. It is less well suited for teaching students to solve problems or evaluate ideas.


In October 2007, the Education Policy Committee established the following limits related to contact hours and teaching modalities:

Contact hour policy for MD Program curriculum

  1. A maximum of 25 hours per usual five-day week of structured contact hours for students in year one and two, starting academic year 2008-2009
  2. A maximum of three hours a day passive learning (3 hours x 5 days = 15hours/week = 60 percent of a 25-hour week)

Helpful resources