Instructional Methods Part 2

Instructional Methods

Instructional Methods
Part 2 of 3

 

Instructional methods continued from Part 1:

 

Field Trips

Teaching Style

 

Learning Style

Demonstrator Teaching

 

Knowledge-Based Learning

Skill-Based Learning

Instructional Method

A variation of the Demonstration Method is to take people out to a field trip for an in-situ demonstration.

Field trips are usually quite memorable and entertaining. As a result, if carefully planned, they can significantly improve learning and motivation.

When to Use

  • Use field trips to significantly raise learners’ interest in a topic and motivate them to explore it further.
  • Field trips give you an opportunity to engage all of your learners’ senses and therefore boost learning.
  • For certain topics, such as showing how a factory works, a field trip might be the most effective form of training since no other method might immerse the learners in the topic as much as this.

When Not to Use

  • Field trips can be costly and require significant forward planning. Make sure that the end result is worth the effort from the training point of view.
  • If you expect disruptions to your plan when on a field trip, for example due to unavailability of resources, then it could be better not to go at all. Field trips take a considerable amount of time for learners, so from their point of view it must be worth their while.

 

Cooperative Learning

Teaching Style

 

Learning Style

Facilitator Teaching

 

Skill-Based Learning

Instructional Method

Cooperative learning takes place through group discussions and group exercises so by increasing interactions in your course you can significantly improve learning.

You will need to prepare the training exercises beforehand and make sure they are at a suitable level for your learners.

When to Use

  • When you want to encourage mutual responsibility and inspire learners to help each other.
  • When you want to create bonding and make people feel more comfortable with each other.
  • If some learners are much better than others in a particular skill, cooperative learning allows you to tap into their knowledge and use it for the training course. You can group these individuals with learners who are new to a topic to increase training efficiency. This method would benefit everyone and also off loads some of the training tasks from you, giving you more time to observe and provide targeted feedback.

When Not to Use

  • Some people are naturally shy and may not participate as much. If you use this method, you will need to make sure that everyone is engaged in exercises.
  • A bad exercise can easily backfire as learners can be reluctant to participate in it.

 

Collaborative Learning

Teaching Style

 

Learning Style

Facilitator Teaching

 

Skill-Based Learning

Instructional Method

Collaborative learning is a term used that covers various group activities taking place in a training event. Examples are coursework after a lecture or group-based homework after a training course.

Group work helps learners think about the lessons and relate them to their current knowledge. The coursework can define a number of problems that the group has to collectively solve. In this case, Collaborative Method can be combined with Problem Solving Method.

To be effective, you will need to monitor learner’s progress or ask them to report their results to you. Without your feedback, the teaching is not as effective since group work is carried out unsupervised.

When to Use

  • Use this method when the task is engaging and takes a considerable amount of time. Rather than getting learners to go through cooperative exercises (during the course), you can use collaborative learning allowing them to carry out the coursework in their own time.
  • This method helps to create bonding between groups members.
  • It helps learners to share ideas and contribute to a solution.
  • This method encourages independent thinking as opposed to passive learning.
  • It helps to build communication skills as group members need to learn how to present their ideas, how to reach a compromise and how to listen to others actively.

When Not to Use

  • Do not use collaborative learning when direct feedback is needed. In certain topics, it might be better to minimise development of bad habits, so carrying out the exercises during the course could be more beneficial.
  • Don’t use this method when there is a high chance that group members do not get along together or cannot meet up due to time or resource constraints. Having not done the coursework, people will come back to the next training session unprepared and with poor knowledge of the topic. This can significantly affect your schedule and you might be forced to revisit the topic.

 

Brainstorming

Teaching Style

 

Learning Style

Facilitator Teaching

 

Skill-Based Learning

Instructional Method

Brainstorming is a group effort in finding a list of ideas for a specific problem. Ideas are generated spontaneously, discussed and possibly scored to find the best course of action.

Your role mainly is to facilitate the process, set rules and supervise adherence to these rules.

An individual opinion or suggestion shouldn’t dominate the discussions during brainstorming. The idea is to collectively explore a problem and reach a consensus.

Various brainstorming techniques have been developed over the years with the intention to encourage everyone to contribute, even those who are shy or hesitant to share their opinions. The systems are designed to encourage equality of ideas so no individual’s ideas come to dominate because of position or character.

For training purposes it is likely that you select the brainstorming topic yourself and set the rules.

When to Use

  • To encourage independent thinking or collect a large number of solutions to a given problem
  • To encourage full participation.
  • Brainstorming is particularly effective for making associations between various ideas which leads to more creativity.
  • Brainstorming helps to create a bond between the participants and is a useful team building technique.

When Not to Use

  • Brainstorming can be unfocused and participants can easily get side tracked.
  • Long brainstorming sessions are often boring and discouraging. Limit the length of brainstorming sessions to about 10 minutes or use rapid brainstorming techniques such as the 6 thinking hats.

 

Problem Solving

Teaching Style

 

Learning Style

Delegator Teaching

Mentor Teaching

 

Skill-Based Learning

Instructional Method

With this method, learners are given a problem to solve by researching, collecting data, and presenting an explanation or a solution.

Problem solving encourages strategic thinking and is particularly effective in developing cognitive skills.

This method is also known as Inquiry Learning or Project-Based Learning.

The essence of the method is that you give an assignment to individuals or to groups and expect an evaluation.

When to Use

  • Use problem solving when learners already have some experience and knowledge about the topic under consideration. If you set people to solve a problem before they are ready for it, it can backfire and put them off.
  • Problem solving must be followed with an evaluation so you can provide feedback and correct misunderstandings or show shortcuts.

When Not to Use

  • Problem solving is time consuming. You need to have enough time to use this method during a training session. Problem solving used with Collaborative Learning as part of coursework allows leaners more time to spend on the problem in their own pace.

 

Case Study

Teaching Style

 

Learning Style

Facilitator Teaching

 

Skill-Based Learning

Instructional Method

In the Case Study method, learners work together to analyse a case. The case can be a real-life situation or one specifically designed to teach a number of skills. This method also allows people to learn from other people’s experiences by studying a real-life scenario.

For training purposes, to get the most from a case study, you need to follow it with a debriefing session, encouraging everyone to share their ideas and analysis. You can then highlight solutions or areas that have not been covered.

With a case study, you will need to carefully prepare the case study and know what areas need to be covered after each person or group presents their analysis.

A case study can be given as an exercise during the course (cooperative learning) or as a coursework/homework (collaborative learning).

You will need to prepare the case study but once made, it can be used easily with little demand on your time.

When to Use

  • Use this method to encourage an analytical approach and help learners to practice their diagnostic skills.
  • Use a case study to show how something works in real like or what doesn’t work.

When Not to Use

  • The strength of this method largely lies on the quality of the case study. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find a suitable case study and it might be better to avoid going through a poor case as not to confuse or waste time. Consider the following when choosing a case:
    • Avoid a case which is too general without focus on a specific issue.
    • Hypothetical case studies may be too unrealistic or too narrow.
    • Some case studies are too idealistic, making them realistically impractical.

 

Continue to Instructional Methods Part 3...