Activity Feed Discussions Blogs Bookmarks Files

Adapting Your Instructional Strategy

How will understanding the basics of learning benefit you as an instructor? Would you give an example of how you might adapt your instructional strategy or teaching methods as a result of understanding how the brain functions and how learning occurs?

I feel it is important to seek to understand constantly how the brain functions and how learning occurs. The brain is a unique part of our body and I am always amazed it weighs 3 lbs. short term and long term and working memory are important memory sources we all need to become more aware of.

Hi Patricia,
Good point that you make. The instructional key to the brain seems to be getting the learner to integrate the short term and long term memory into useable applications which is used in the working memory. So many people have problems in seeing application and relevancy to what they are learning and then pulling it out to work with it.

I believe that one must "understand" before they can pass that information on and that includes understanting how you learn it.

I've already read your first module and I think you're right on the money with your "understanding of understanding". I've been implementing these elements as an instructor based on instinct and experience with amazing results and it's good to hear I'm not alone in my thoughts. Thanks

Hi Dorian,
Right you are. By understanding students' learning preferences and pathways instructors can more effectively target their content and activities to their students. Also, as you mention there has to be understanding on the part of the instructor so he/she can channel the information on.

Hi Dorian,
Thank you for those kind words about the course content. The information I am sharing in the course is based upon practical applications based upon sound learning theory. If we understand how learners learn then we can target our efforts to how students learn and then application and understanding will occur.

Let me see if I got it. In order to construct a lesson, the instructor should understand how the student’s memory may be impacted. If the lesson is designed to draw on the background and experience of the student, it would be episodic whereas if the lesson is drawn on the experiences or knowledge of the instructor, then the lesson becomes semantic in nature for the student. Keeping this in mind should guide the instructor design the style and method of lesson delivery.

Hi Lance,
Semantic memory is more rote, meaning the learning of facts, figures, ratios, etc. Episodic memory is the pulling up of previous experiences and associating them with what is being currently learned. This helps with application. If you as the instructor are offering content that has to be memorized for success in the course then the students will be working in their semantic memory.
Instructors need to tie as much content and semantic memory work to the previous experiences of students as is possible since retention will be much higher if they do.
In summary, you got it and yes it will be of benefit to you as you design your teaching style and method of delivery.

Understanding the basics of learning will help me as an instructor because it gives me more insight into potential obstacles students may face. Someone who has a low self-image of their academic abilities may think this way because of past experiences. Knowing that the brain is trained to do certain things and that I can help my students change this is invaluable to me as an instructor. I also think that being able to point it out to students will help them work through any anxiety they might be feeling.

Hi Kim,
The key to knowledge acquisition is having the ability to intake. organize and store the new information. Once that is done then there must be a strategy for retrieving the information if it is going to be of value to the learner. You comments reinforce the fact that you have these concepts down and will be able to set your lessons up with maximum learning opportunities.

Understanding each individual will help me introduce the topics and details to the students in different ways. As an instructor I need to develop methods in instruction so the student receives the information, processes it, and will use it later on in their field.

Hi Gilbert,
The key to being an effective instructor is the ability for your students to see the relevancy of what you are sharing with them and then their ability to transfer that knowledge. You are right on track with your instructional plan.

If one may conclude that one of the primary functions of an instructor is to facilitate learning in an individual, then it seems logical and relevant that developing and understanding what learning is and how it works is essential to developing effective instructional techniques. It is, for instance, essential for an automobile mechanic to understand the functioning of a car engine in order to effectively perform his work; that is not to necessarily say that a human brain is analogous to a car engine, but the concept of possessing some knowledge of how such elements function should clearly be of primary interest and concern within each context. An understanding of design and function typically leads to an understanding and development of approaches to working with the subject in question (car engines, students' minds as a factor of their learning) and potential solutions to potential challenges.

In some ways, an instructor's role in a learning environment can sometimes be one of a troubleshooter in the sense of observing and analyzing lack or deficiency of function, determining the cause of such issues, and attempting to formulate and apply clarifications and/or solutions. This often means being flexible and adapting to each given environment, context, and set of individuals. As much as learning styles and strategies vary from individual to individual, the instructor must often determine when or if learning is occurring as intended based on individualized behavior within the learning environment.

Furthermore, an understanding of the learning process as it relates to memory function can be particularly useful in helping to develop strategies for presenting information and knowledge in ways that can be more readily apprehended by the learner. As an instructor for computer repair and networking technology courses, I find it particularly critical that course material be presented in a highly portioned, segmented, and modular manner, else the learners would be quickly overwhelmed by the deluge of data, as it were, and would in fact tend to exhibit fairy low retention of such information. Conceptualizing the functions of short-term, long-term, and working memory is a valuable asset in developing a "building block" approach to instructional delivery.

Hi Vincent,
Great discussion in the forum about how learning and the role memory plays in it. You have the essence of what instructors are trying to do with their students. I am sure that your students benefit from this insight. Keep up the good work.

As with most processes that have a cause and effect, knowing how individuals learn (or how things work) will benefit a facilitator by helping them develop useful techniques as well as methods to determine if those techniques are effective.
An example of an adaption of strategies might be in how I can use questioning techniques during a course to have students repeat back procedures, acronyms or components and their uses. By keeping the atmosphere good natured, humorous and connecting the concepts to hands on training I am effectively helping to make them more permanent and working to change semantic to episodic long term memory

Hi Steve,
Great example. The more episodic memory examples that you can give your students the easier it will be for them to recall the information and retain for a longer period of time. I like what you are doing and I am sure your students do as well.

I feel that understanding the basics of learning is important as an instructor; because if you understand what you are going to teach your students you will be more confident as you are teaching.You could do a lesson on how the brain functions and why it is an important part of their learning.

As instructors, it is essential to recognize how learners process and retain information so that we can develop a basis for which to present information to students. For example, as a result of this presentation, I know that adult students have difficulties editing and deleting information. As an instructor, I can help students from the beginning of class by highlighting which information is essential, as well as which information is not as important. This process will help them become better learners, in addition to aiding them in knowing the subject matter.

As an instructor at a career college, I realize that making information relevant to the student's future career goal is crucial. Helping students reach his/her goals is the best part about this job.

When teaching older adults, so many negative "learning" styles have been already established. Students coming back to school may feel completly overwhelmed. I would be sure to adapt my teaching presentation and course assignments to meet them at their level. Part of being an instructor is meeting students where they are and helping them get to where they need to be.

Sign In to comment