Friday, May 22, 2009

Learning Design Strategy, Instructional Design Strategy, Teaching Strategy, Media Delivery Strategy

Learning Design Strategy, Instructional Design Strategy, Teaching Strategy, Media Delivery Strategy

I haven't had time to do much here lately. The problem that I see is that there seems to be a confusion about what differentiates a learning design strategy from a learning delivery medium. Too often it seems people tend to confuse the two.

I have been looking at the term "instructional strategies" and then trying to find something that defines the characteristics of an instructional strategy vs the characteristics of the media delivery system. I have been less than satisfied with what I have found in the books and research papers.

Everyone talks about instructional strategies, but the actual process of defining the strategy and the composition of the strategies are nebulous sometimes. I know about designing for rules, procedures, etc., but the application of strategies in other than Gagne's 9 events doesn't appear to be well defined, especially for different domains.

Lots of folks appear to be using the term learning strategy, especially the military and related vendors, but a "learning strategy" is what the learner uses to organize information, procedures etc, to learn. That is not the same as an instructional strategy and a teaching/facilitation strategy. I have also seen a lot of "strategies" listed, that are more or less activities, not strategies. Some strategies can be used by both the learner as a learning method and the instructional brainstorming.

I went to the library and pulled out a bunch of "teaching" strategy books to see what they say. Teaching strategy.. to me-- is the on site application of the instructional strategy and being on the spot to use it. The instructional strategy should be the needs, content definition, circumstances and learners evaluated and integrated, a selection of delivery mode and learning mode that best fits the learners, content and circumstances, lesson plans, media if needed, delivery process, assessment and re-instruction/learning.. if necessary... all based on the objective outcome. Its more than just presenting content by direct instruction.

Where I am having the most difficulty is defining the difference in some of the terms that can be used in different ways. Ex..role playing is a strategy, but it is also a delivery mode, so at what point does it cease to be the strategy (what is included in the strategy characteristics?) and become just an activity/delivery mode?

Out of curiosity, I looked up "instructional strategy" in the old AECT glossary of terms from 1979 (newest one that they had in the library)- pg 76 it says:

"The overall approach to instruction to be incorporated in the instructional system or instructional product; it includes the types of system operation, format, stimuli, responses, feedback, generalities, instances, difficulty, mathmagenic information, approach, presentation-organization, sequence, scope, size of step, and pacing to be used."

I did not find any definition of what they meant by "system operation" when they wrote that glossary. "Format" means the materials medium and organization of the content.

So essentially, what the old one is saying is that a strategy has (Macro and Micro):

1. system operation-
2. format
3. stimuli
4. responses
5. feedback
6. generalities
7. instances
8. difficulty
9. mathmagenic information
10. approach
11. presentation-organization
12. sequence
13. scope
14. size of step
15. and pacing

AND what is missing..assessment for understanding and learning goals, which I did not see in this definition. That should have been included. There is no indication of whether this was supposed to have been based on a descriptive or prescriptive process.