Effective instructional strategies for educators
If you gather different trainers in a room and ask about their instructional techniques, believe it or not, every teacher will have something to say. But, some of them will only focus on those that best suit them, not their students. That can be dangerous.
To deliver quality training, instructors need to be extra keen and ensure they use not only techniques that suit them but also check onto the levels of their learners, the topic discussed, and the learning stage. Even better, teachers should incorporate different strategies for a productive result.
This article discusses some of the best creative and innovative instructional strategies educators can deploy to ensure they give the best delivery that suits various learning needs.
What are instructional strategies?
Instructional strategies and techniques are the methods instructors, and educators use to support or take their learners through the various learning materials. Or techniques instructors use to deliver training. They can also be defined as the teachers' activities to make their students independent and help accomplish the learning goals.
Effective strategies should provide productive learning through:
Factors to consider when designing instructional learning techniques
When designing learning strategies, educators should ensure they include materials used that can provide both theoretical and practical experiences that find the why" behind the results.
According to the National Academic Press, the main goal of learning is to gain expertise. Therefore, instructional designs and strategies should point out or help learners organize and conceptualize knowledge that can automatically be retrieved, resist forgetting, and can flexibly be applied across different situations.
With these factors in mind, here are some key principles of instructional learning designs:
Effective instructional learning should be well-paced
Not all students are fast learners, which means some require more time to analyze and practice various skills to help achieve the desired goals. An instructional program should encourage learners to practice and explore every learning opportunity they get for that to happen. This goes for both on-site and eLearning systems.
Besides, a good learning pace will help learners feel part of the studies and move along. So, to achieve a good and favorable speed that is inclusive of all the learners, you must:
Learners’ background constitutes different factors:
So, to have adequate and effective learning instructional systems, educators should factor in the various learner' backgrounds to help develop materials that suit all the students. Materials that challenge the learners without necessarily overwhelming.
Of course, there would be differences in social classes, but if you don’t want some learners to feel inferior, then provide supplementary materials for the students with fewer learning opportunities.
Also, it gives guidance to learners will low learning abilities, well known as slow learners. Even better, you can add remedial sessions for struggling learners. So, when designing your instructional material, ensure to allocate some time for struggling students. Advise them to use these times to consult and ask questions, especially on areas they never understood in class.
When students come for such sessions, ensure you slowly, and step-by-step takes them or explain every point in a more simplified manner that helps guide the slower learners to understand better.
Students have different understanding levels, so their content analysis will differ. Therefore, to better their understanding, ensure you create simple and flexible learning materials that help them relate to their previously learned ideas or concepts.
Also, avoid using very detailed and complicated terminologies or jargon. Instead, keep your format simple, but let it offer some challenge and be logical. Again, avoid using irrelevant information as they distract and takes away learners' concentration.
Learning material should contextualize information
Learners easily understand details if they can relate them to their surroundings or associate the new concept with what they already know and can apply. So to achieve this, ensure you:
As earlier mentioned, students have different backgrounds and experiences, but giving a wide range of examples helps get information across various knowledge levels. So, first, know the background of your learners and pull examples from different situations, especially those that they may find or seem familiar with.
Not all students learn better from written content; some like listening and watching. So, ensure you design an instructional material that incorporates multiple ranges of content formats.
Teach and show your learners how one material can be applied in different contexts. For instance, not one particular behavior will apply to all situations; some situations will demand that you use another behavior that might be different in another circumstance.
While providing various theoretical examples, you also need to include practical applications. For instance, you can have the students repeat or imitate certain content or create a music with the names or abbreviations of the content.
In other words, allow the students to perform a vocal presentation of what they have read. Or link the theoretical aspect of learning to practical experiences. And discourage learners from only memorizing content.
To create impactful teaching strategies, therefore;
Importance of creating effective learning and instructional strategies
The objective of creating effective instructional strategies goes beyond subject or material comprehension. It ensures you get independent students to analyze, relate, and apply various concepts to their success without constantly monitoring them.
Effective strategies also serve the following purposes:
Ensure a fun teaching and learning
Most students learn through active and engaging opportunities, which many strategies embrace. So, educators must ensure they feature systems that keep learners engaged and motivated for more concepts.
When learners are used to the same type of studying, they may sometimes get bored and lose focus or concentration. But with the various instructional or teaching techniques, instructors can always utilize different them by combining low, highly vigorous, and single and group work to encourage participation.
Enhances instructions while boosting learning
Beautiful things happen, especially when instructors continuously tweak and explore various delivery techniques.
They'll expose students to various strategies, which broaden their understanding of how to acquire, learn, and understand different concepts. In other words, they give the students multiple means of processing or knowing new information.
Offers teachers the flexibility to choose the most appropriate technique
Not all strategies will favor every situation. So, the multiple systems mean teachers will always have a way to handle or deliver particular materials.
The higher number at their disposal gives teachers the flexibility to use or differentiate instructions. They can always analyze and find the best style that best suits every situation or works for every group of learners and students.
Ensure students makes practical connections
Different strategies provide varied learning styles that can be applied to various levels of learning or subject areas to motivate and encourage students to focus.
Also, educators can use varied learning strategies to allow learners to make valuable connections between what they have learned in class and their real-life situations or surroundings.
Even better, practical strategies offer learners an opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned, especially when they are on their own, like during self-studies and group work.
Lastly, instructors also benefit from creating practical learning strategies as they can easily control, monitor, and access their learners’ performances through various evaluation methods.
Types of instructional strategies for effecting training
Educators can deploy multiple instructional or teaching strategies in their various classes. Most of the often fall under some general grouping like:
Active or interactive strategies
This is the most commonly used strategy that creates a conducive environment for active participation, interactions, and discussions.
It happens through individual student participation, where an individual can teach or present what they know about a particular topic. Or having some kinds of collaborations like in vases class discussions. Here are some examples of interactive strategies:
This is where you posed some provoking questions to inspire your learners to research and think for themselves to help them become independent.
You can also promote inquiry learning by providing exit tickets. Before your learners leave the room, ask them to respond or answer questions relating to the concept discussed during that day's session. These questions can be as simple as asking them to write down or create a sketch demonstrating what they have learned.
Also, you can ask them to relate key concepts to their real-life situations. Encouraging learners to ask and answer questions help improve their understanding. They create time to research or investigate for the best ideas. This also helps improve their problem-solving skill as they get deeper knowledge and experience of various concepts.
From the feedback provided, educators will be able to their student's needs and their levels of understanding. You can determine which students need more training and in what areas. This approach helps you understand how your class is grasping the content and how they can put the learned concepts into practice.
Using the information from exit tickets and other formats which help you know the knowledge and understanding or background levels of learners¸, you can now place them into different groups.
You can group students who have similar perceptions about a topic or those with the same levels of understanding. Better still, ask learners to pair up or choose a think-partner, then have them handle or discuss a material.
Alternatively, you can place together with those students with opposing perceptions and views to help foster conversation and debates. Group work or project-based learning offers several opportunities to students and instructors.
The primary goal of most students’ group formation is to get learners to share and display their knowledge with others. But it also:
A properly structured and managed group will also:
Also, group-based learning is effective in allowing students to develop and master collaborative skills that will enable them to:
Learning logs and journals
This is another active learning strategy that educators should encourage their learners to use. Here, students record their feelings, thoughts, and reflections or perceptions on different topics.
The entries can be something they learned during lectures a review of specific or relevant pieces of information. Journals help learners think critically about the various learning materials and how they can be applied. Still, it allows learners to brainstorm ideas, make predictions, connect and find solutions to different concepts presented in class.
As a way to promote learning, ask learners to suggest or raise any concerns that they have from your previous presentation, then promptly answer them. Finally, please encourage students always to note challenging ideas or thought that they might have come across.
Though not commonly used, reflection is another significant way to keep your students engaged and actively listening throughout the whole lesson. So, give your students a blank worksheet at the end of your lectures, then ask them to write down what they have learned what they found interesting or challenging.
Reflection may serve two things; one, when students know that they'll have to answer a question or concern after the end of the lesson, they probably would want to focus and pay more attention.
Secondly, the students' responses help instructors determine the stand of students on a particular area or topic, and you can use this information to better your delivery techniques for deeper understanding. Other added advantages include:
Assessment-based learning strategies
Assessment learning strategies are the most commonly used techniques. They include any graded quiz, tests, or exams done in class during lectures. It also consists of the informal checking on students’ group performances ad presentations.
So, how can you deploy assessment-based strategies to achieve your learning needs? You can:
While assessing your learners, ensure that you primarily focus on those concepts that are effective for the student's growth and learning needs. This means you create a more practical assessment that ensures the trainees put what they have learned into action and practice. You can achieve a more realistic approach to learning by:
There are several benefits of homework practices to students, including teaching learners to be responsible and set priorities. Most importantly, homework practices ensure learning continues beyond the classroom and give learners more time to analyze and master concepts. It also benefits teachers and instructors to understand the areas and topics understood most or less by their learners.
When creating homework assignments, ensure to assign the task based on your students’ level of skills, understanding and focus on areas they need the most help. Besides, they can only learn by independently taking the tasks.
Asking questions is the simplest instructional learning technique and the best way to gauge students' understanding. Of course, most stages and processes of the course material will require learners to answer specific or topical questions.
But you can also pose some questions during group discussions or even in class during lectures. Continuously asking questions helps improve students’ confidence and mastery of concepts. The more they're exposed to challenging questions, the more confident they get.
Direct instruction teaching strategy
This is the traditional method of delivery that is teacher-centered, and the students focus on the teacher as they lectures. It is also known as vertical teaching or direct lecturing.
The direct instruction technique is characterized by:
The technique is particularly common when developing or organizing step-by-step knowledge and skills or providing information to students. Something that doesn't necessarily need students’ participation.
Learner community-based strategies
Most students work-based when they can identify themselves with specific target groups. To create groups for various functions, for instance:
Case study groups are more unconstrained than any other structured groups. But it helps boost learners' problem-solving skills in their practical assignment line. It also helps prepare students for life after college and university.
So, put students in a community or group and ask them to find or apply what they have learned from reading and listening to the course work into real-world situations.
Instructional strategies like debate form a structured way of argumentation. They require learners to research ideas or concepts and critically think, especially when presenting their findings.
Grouping students for role play offer multiple benefits like helping them gain knowledge and practice their skills in a conducive learning environment. Most importantly, it helps improve the mastery of ideas and concepts. So, assign your students to roleplay particular ideas and topics.
Explore the above instructional strategies and adopt the one that best suits your learners and the delivery style.