Tactics without strategy is noise

Dick and Carey’s initial discussion of a delivery system seems to break into 3 aspects:

  1. Social mode (lecture, lab and tutor, small group, self-study: I liked the inclusion of student groupings as a major decision in delivery)
  2. Medium (book, tape, mail, classroom, TV/radio/phone, computer, Web)
  3. Environment (time: a/synchronous, place: bound/open)

Even though PBL is covered, no distinction was drawn between a linear sequence (subobj 1a->subobj 2a->subobj 3a->Obj A-> subobj 1b->subobj 2b->Obj B) and a hyper sequence (in which learners access subobj  and Obj at their discretion and learn a sequence through trial and error).

Gagné’s attention step was amplified by introducing Keller’s concepts of relevance and confidence (satisfaction seems better-suited to the end of the sequence of events). To me, Gagné’s steps naturally split into “instruction” and “assessment” sections at the end of guidance (examples or practice) with Dick and Carey recommending a summary and a terminal objective practice at that juncture.

Practical suggestions included:

  • Require learners to develop a plan to reinforce transfer
  • Show how objectives can be used
  • Gagné’s elaboration tactic (linking stored knowledge to new knowledge) can also be accomplished with analogies and by asking learners “to provide an example from their own experience”
  • Reinforce declarative hierarchies by presenting information in an outline or table
  • Guidance in the form of practice is accomplished with generating new examples, refining the organizational structure, and focusing on meaningful contexts

Dick’s and Carey’s coverage on attitude left me wanting more. The idea that attitude is best modified/reinforced by delivering content from someone (real or imaginary) admired by the learner seems obvious, as is the suggestion to decide if learners should know they are being observed; no information was presented on how this observation impacts attitude changes other than the discouraging statement that there is little relationship between what we say and what we do in regard to our attitudes.

I appreciated the idea that constructivist designs are particularly appropriate for ill-defined problems. The table of constructivist guidelines was more straightforward than Duffy’s article:

  • offer choices
  • situate problems
  • create opportunities for reflection
  • involve groups in new knowledge construction
  • practice involves multiple perspectives
  • provide just enough facilitation in feedback (model, scaffold, coach, collaborate, peer review)
  • assessment standards must be referenced to each learner’s students’ unique goals
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The events you are about to see are real

Fools rush in… I see now that these posts should have been limited to 200 words and comments to 100. I’d heard of Gagne’s 9 events before but the interesting part of reading his original work is the bifurcation of the process: the first 5 steps are the learning, and the last 4 are the assessment which implies that every instructional event must include proof. The Presentation step was the most helpful, especially:

  • content must mirror the objective in delivery mode
  • variety is required so learners can generalize
  • present discrimination through finer- and finer-grained examples
  • present concepts through a variety of examples and non-examples
  • provide examples then a definition for concrete concepts with younger learners
  • provide a definition then examples for defined concepts with older learners

I had misunderstood that the Guidance step was practice when in fact it is a series of small activities that build and allow the learner to discover the big idea; constructivists will say that learners who need fewer activities (hints) before seeing the big idea bring a different social-cultural history to the event. I also misunderstood the last two steps; assessment is NOT a repeat of feedback but a drive toward reliability and validity while transfer is applying the concept to an entirely new problem.

For my ILM, I now suspect that assessment of an attitude may require human observation.