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Instructional Systems Design - ISD
Instructional Strategy
Topic: 8- Instructional Strategy

Instructional Strategy involves a huge variety of teaching/learning activities (microstrategies) such as:

  • group discussions
  • independent reading
  • case studies
  • lectures
  • computer simulations
  • worksheets
  • cooperative group projects

Microstrategies: they are pieces of an overall macrostrategy that must take learners from a motivational introduction to a topic learners' through mastery of objectives.

A textbook is a microstrategy that serves primarily as a source of information (and is incomplete instruction).

Macroinstructional strategy: is the complete instruction created by an instructor and involves:

  • defining objectives
  • writing lesson plan and tests
  • motivating learners
  • presenting content
  • engaging students as active participants in learning process
  • administering and scoring assessments (providing feedback)

A well-designed set of instructional materials contains many strategies and procedures.

Three of the major components in the learning process that facilitate learning: (according to psychologists)

  • motivation
  • prerequisite and subordinate skills
  • practice & feedback

Psychologists whose work influences approaches to instructional design:

  • Behaviorists (30 to 40 years ago)
  • Cognitivists (who later modified behaviorists' views)
  • Constructivists (more recent; they suggested new approaches)

The term Instructional Strategy covers the following:

  1. selection of a delivery system
  2. sequencing and grouping content
  3. describing learning components that will be included in instruction
  4. specifying how students will be grouped during instruction
  5. establishing lesson structures
  6. selecting media for delivering instruction

1- Selection of a delivery system: (instruction) (p.184)

The delivery system is the general methodology used for managing and delivering the teaching and learning activities called "instruction."

A delivery system is only part of an overall instructional strategy. Here are some examples of some common delivery systems:

  • traditional model
  • correspondence
  • large-group lecture with small-group Q&A follow-up
  • telecourse by broadcast or videotape
  • two-way, interactive videoconference
  • computer-based instruction
  • Internet or intranet web-based instruction
  • self-paced programs
  • combinations and unique, custom systems

In an ideal instructional design process, one would consider the following:

  • goal
  • learner characteristics
  • learning and performance contexts
  • objectives
  • assessment requirements

 Ideal path for choosing a delivery system:

  1. review instructional analysis and identify logical clusters of objectives that will be taught in appropriate sequences
  2. plan the learning components that will be used in the instruction
  3. choose most effective student groupings
  4. specify effective media and materials that are within the range of cost, convenience, and practicality for the learning context
  5. assign objectives to lessons and consolidate media selections
  6. select or develop a relevant delivery system 

However, in real life, things do not really happen this way. Then, the designer must be flexible and get everything out of the system that it is capable of delivering. The designer must make appropriate adaptations or propose an alternative system.

2- Sequencing and grouping content: (p.186)
A- Sequencing content
What sequence should we follow in presenting content? We should follow our instructional analysis, beginning with the lower-level skills. The instructional sequence tends to be a combination of bottom to top and left to right.
B- Clustering content
We may decide to present information
- on an objective-by-objective basis with intervening activities or
- on several objectives prior to any kind of learner activities
5 factors need to be considered when determining the amount of information to be presented:
  1. age level
  2. complexity of material
  3. type of learning
  4. if the activity can be varied
  5. time required

3- Describing Gagne's 9 learning components that will be included in instruction: (p.189)

Nine events represent external teaching activities that support mental processes of learning (cognitive psychology):

  1. gaining attention
  2. informing learner of objective
  3. stimulating recall of prerequisite learning
  4. presenting stimulus material
  5. providing learning guidance
  6. eliciting performance
  7. providing feedback
  8. assessing performance
  9. enhancing retention and transfer

The purpose for developing an instructional strategy is planning how to guide learners' intellectual processing through the mental states and activities that psychologists have shown will foster learning.

Here are Gagne's events of instruction re-organized into 5 major learning components that are part of an overall instructional strategy:

a- Preinstructional activities
b- Content presentation
c- Learner participation
d- Assessment
e- Follow-through activities


a- Preinstructional activities: 3 factors to consider prior to beginning instruction:

- Motivating learners: John Keller (1987)- ARCS model

  • Attention: gaining and sustaining attention (by using emotional or personal information, asking questions, creating mental challenges, using human-interest examples)
  • Relevance: learners must perceive the instruction as relevant to them; instruction must be related to important goals in their lives > there should be congruence between learners' expectations and the instruction.
  • Confidence: learners must be confident that they can master the objectives for the instruction. If the learners
    • lack confidence > less motivated
    • are overconfident > they will see no need to attend to the instruction

      The challenge is to create the appropriate level of expectation for success (> zone of proximal development)
  • Satisfaction: learners must derive satisfaction (extrinsic rewards or intrinsic feelings of accomplishment?) from the learning experience

 - Informing learners of the objectives > so that they know what to memorize, solve, or interpret.

Providing learners with the objectives helps them to

  • focus their study strategies on these outcomes
  • use more efficient study strategies
  • determine the relevance of the instruction

- Informing learners of prerequisite skills: this will prepare them for the instruction to follow. Two purposes for this component:

  • make sure learners view the relationship between new content and what they already know (can be done through brief test of entry behaviors or by providing learners with a brief description of required entry behaviors)
  • promote learners' active recall of relevant mental contexts in which the new content can be integrated.

b- Content presentation: we should determine what information, concepts, rules, and principles need to be presented. (Avoid presenting too much information, especially that unrelated to the objective)

It is important to

  • define new concepts
  • explain their interrelationship with other concepts

We also need to determine the types and numbers of both examples and nonexamples (deliberate attempt to point out why an example is wrong).

Forms of examples and nonexamples:

  • illustrations
  • diagrams
  • demonstrations
  • model solutions
  • scenarios
  • case studies
  • sample performances

c- Learner participation: Practice with feedback! Learners should be provided an opportunity to practice what we want them to be able to do + they should be provided feedback about their performance.

d- Assessment:

  • Entry behavior tests
  • Pretests
  • Practice tests
  • Posttests 

Refer to the following page: http://www.nadasisland.com/isd/index.blog?topic_id=1112721

e- Follow-through activities:

  • Memory aids for retention (job aids such as checklists are very useful)
  • Transfer of learning: research indicates that learners transfer only some of what they learn to new contexts. The designer must be aware of thatand use every means possible to promote the transfer of learning.
    Instruction is effective if learners can use it to further their study of more advance topics or to perform skills on the job that make a difference in their organization's effectiveness.

4- Specifying how students will be grouped during instruction: (p.207)

The type of student grouping (individual pairs, small group, large group) depends on specific social interaction requirements and is often mixed within and among the learning components in a lesson or unit.

5- Establishing lesson structures: (pp.198-199)

Matching learning components with the amount of guidance needed by the intended learners.

Check Moore & Kearsley's Theory of Transactional Distance (1996)

  • Level of course structure: flexible vs. rigid
  • Level of course dialogue: little interactive communication vs. lots of it
  • Transactional distance: greater vs. lesser
  • Suitability for learner autonomy level: highly autonomous learner vs. less autonomous learner who has not learned how to learn

6- Selecting media for delivering instruction: (p.209)

Media are useful to the extent that they effectively carry required learning components of an instructional strategy.

According to Clark (1983), it is the design of instruction, rather than the medium used to deliver instruction, that determines student learning. 

Detailed Outline for an Instructional Strategy: (p.197)

a- Preinstructional activities

  1. Gain attention and motivate
  2. Describe objectives
  3. Describe and promote recall of prerequisite skills

b- Content presentation

  1. Content
  2. Examples

c- Learner participation

  1. Practice
  2. Feedback

d- Assessment

  1. Entry behavior test
  2. Pretest
  3. Posttest

e- Follow-through activities

  1. Memory aids for retention
  2. Transfer considerations

Educational Activities (Dr. Ryan Watkins)

When you have selected the appropriate instructional strategies for your objectives, it is now the time in the ID process for the designer to consider the educational activities that will be included in the lesson. Each of the activities should promote learner interactions as discussed in last week's readings. A cursory list of potential educational experiences offered by Atsusi Hirumi at the University of Houston Clearlake includes:

listen to a lectureread a journal article
conduct a surveycomplete handouts
conduct library researchparticipate in a debate
assess the work of other studentshandle manipulatives
watch a filmcreate a presentation
analyze current eventsparticipate in a panel discussion
interview othersconduct experiments
visit community resourceinteract with laserdisc
participate in a panel discussionparticipate in a simulation
create or make a graphical presentationwrite research, concept, or position paper
write a reflective paperwatch a demonstration

Active participation of students is essential for the learning process. One challenge, however, is that active learning is not always the easiest instruction to design or implement. Most current education and training programs are based primarily on relatively passive forms of education. And while passive instructional events are appropriate to accomplish some objectives, you will also want to consider some active learning events as well.

Graf and Albright (1994) characterize active learning as:

  • students who are involved in more than listening;
  • less emphasis on transmitting information and more emphasis on developing skills;
  • involvement in higher order thinking skills;
  • engagement in activities;
  • the exploration of learners prior skills, knowledge, attitudes, and abilities.

In creating active learning in your instruction you may want to consider:

  • the development of learning communities;
  • InterActivities (Internet-based activities, webquest, etc.);
  • information gathering activities (information searches, electronic appearances, electronic mentoring, electronic publishing, database creation, etc.);
  • information sharing (keypals, sequential creations, discussion groups, impersonations, generating websites, brainstorming, site surveys, etc.);
  • collaborative problem solving (polled data analysis, parallel problem-solving, simulations, social action plans).

Different Strategies + Lesson Plans (Worth considering, but disregard typing-- mainly punctuation-- mistakes)

Community Language Learning + Lesson Plan

Direct Instruction Model + Lesson Plan (pdf)

Inductive Model + Lesson Plan  (pdf)

Inquiry Model + Lesson Plan  (pdf)

Cooperative Learning + Lesson Plan

Reading- Lesson Plan (under construction)  

Relevant Links:

Example of Instructional Strategy based on ISD

Keller’s ARCS model of motivation

Instructional Design Knowledge Base: Models/Theories

Instructional Design Knowledge Base: Instructional Strategies & Tactics

Design and Sequence Your Way to WBT Interactivity By Atsusi Hirumi and Kathryn Ley

Reigeluth's Elaboration Theory  

Merrill's Instructional Transaction Theory (ITT)

Relevant Books:

A Handbook of Job Aids by Allison Rossett and Jeannette Gautier-Downes (1991)

Electronic Performance Support System by Gloria Gery (1991)

Designing and Developing Electronic Performance Support Systems by L. Brown (1996)

Transfer Of Training: Action-packed Strategies To Ensure High Payoff From Training Investment by Broad and Newstrom (1992)

Distance education: A system's view by Moore and Kearsley (2004)

Posted by Nada at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: 05/06/09 12:30 AM EDT

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