3.16.2009

Detailing the Seriation

In his post Monday Broken ID Series: Seriation, Clark Quinn writes, "Instructional design has established that the correct order of elements is introduction - concept - example - practice (and feedback) - summary. While that's a good default, it doesn't have to be that way, and there are times when it makes sense to provide other approaches or even self-navigation."

This post adds on to Clark's methods of presenting information (concepts) and examples.

Approaches to Presenting Information and Examples

When presenting content, two approaches can be used:

  • a deductive approach works by presenting the general information, followed by examples
  • an inductive approach works in the opposite direction by first presenting the examples to the learners, and then giving them the general information.

Closely related to the presentation methods are two strategies for helping the learners to learn:

  • expository learning, which is presenting examples and information
  • inquisitory learning, in which the learners find examples or general information

The two approaches for presenting content and the two learning strategies gives us four instructional design methods. Present the:

  • information first and then the examples
  • examples first and then the information
  • information and then have the learners find or produce examples
  • examples and then have the learners find or produce the information

A deductive-expository strategy works by first presenting information and then the examples. Thus, all the content is presented to the learners. For example, you present the information and then a case study that illustrates the information. It is normally the most time and cost effective of the four methods.

It is best used if they have some experiences with concrete examples or cases that enable them to understand the general information and a deep level of understanding is not required. It works for simple declarative knowledge, such as facts and simple concepts and models.

The inductive-inquisitory strategy works by presenting examples and then the learners produce the information. Thus, rather than just receiving the content, they now receive and produce. For example, you present a case study and then the learners provide the general information about the case study.

This method works best when the learners have little or no experience with concrete examples or cases and their knowledge consists mostly of:

  • simple or naive strategies
  • simple or naive models
It is normally a time consuming strategy; however, it is probably the best method for reaching a deep level of understanding. To reduce the amount of time it takes, use some "leading questions"; thus it becomes a guided discovery learning method rather than strictly exploratory. This method works best with strategic knowledge, such as heuristics and systematic approaches to problem solving.

An inductive-expository strategy works by first presenting examples and then the information. And again, all the content is presented to the learners. For example you present a case study and then the information.

This method normally provides the learners with a deeper understanding than the deductive-expository method, but is not as good as the inductive-inquisitory method, thus it provides a middle-of-the-road method. This also works best for simple declarative knowledge, such as facts and simple concepts and models.

The deductive-inquisitory strategy works by presenting the information to the learners and then they produce some examples. For example, you present the information and then they come up with a case study or model.

This strategy fits in with whole-task practice in complicated tasks that have many parts. That is, once the learners have used the other three methods for learning the parts of a task, use this to bring the whole task together.

This method also works best with strategic knowledge, such as heuristics and systematic approaches to problem solving.

Reference

Jeroen J. G. Van Merrienboer, (1997). Training Complex Cognitive Skills: A Four-Component Instructional Design Model for Technical Training. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Educational Technology Pubns.

4 comments:

Clark said...

Donald, great extension! Your post nicely labels some alternative approaches that are definitely worth exploring, and identifying when they might be appropriate.

Unknown said...

Thanks Clark! What I have been pondering lately is how to do it asynchronous with elearning so that it could be accomplished more as just-in-time if needed.

The expository method is simple enough but to really get the in-depth understanding requires the inquisitory method.

Sreya Dutta said...

Don, this is a great article. Has been a very good eye opener for me. Keep sharing such posts!

Sreya

Unknown said...

Thank you Sreya - I'm glad the post was helpful!