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  Instruction > Instructional Design  > Types of Instruction

Instructional Design

"The physical environment in which teaching and learning
occurs is being replaced with an electronic classroom,
but the process of teaching is very much the same.
In the second phase, however, we will begin to use
technology in new ways, to advance beyond
what was possible in the classroom."

 Stephen Downes

Types of Instruction by Domains of Learning:
     Knowledge, Attitude & Skills

In 1956 Benjamin Bloom led a task force that identified three domains of educational activity:

  • Cognitive (mental development & skills)
  • Affective (emotional development, attitude, beliefs & values, feeling awareness, empathy, interpersonal communication, and self awareness)
  • Psychomotor (physical development & skills, perception, sensory-kinesthetic awareness).

This taxonomy of learning behaviors can be thought of as the goals of the training process.

A parallel way of referring to these domains of learning (acronym "SKA") are the terms :

  • Knowledge
  • Attitude
  • Skills

It should also be understood that in an information processing model of learning there is a cognitive component (and sometimes a meta-cognitive component) in both affective and psychomotor learning. Therefore, a cognitive emphasis in teaching does not disregard emotional attitudes, beliefs and values, nor ignore overt behavior — physical performance.

In 1983, Howard Gardner, in the landmark book Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences, presented an important set of observations that re-organized a psychological understanding of "intelligence". Gardner described performance indicators of development and learning in the following domains that he emphasized are distinct capacities of human intelligence:

  1. Linguistic-Verbal,
  2. Logical-Mathematical,
  3. Visual-Spacial,
  4. Auditory-Musical,
  5. Bodily-Kinesthetic,
  6. Interpersonal communication,
  7. Intrapersonal communication, and
  8. Naturalist-environmental.

No approach to curriculum would be complete if it did not take into account this broader, more integral model, of human development.

Bloom's Cognitive Learning Domain describes a person's intellectual abilities. It is made up of behaviors such as comprehending information, organizing ideas, and evaluating information and actions. These skills are arranged into six hierarchical levels (including both observable and unobservable skills) from the simple to the most difficult. A learner who is able to perform at the higher levels of the taxonomy, demonstrates a more complex level of cognitive processing or thinking.

The goal of most instruction is to progressively raise students’ level of thinking, beginning with the simpler or lower levels and moving up toward the more complex levels.

The levels, their corresponding processes and verbs, can help you develop instruction, learning activities and course evaluations.

Bloom Taxonomy: Cognitive Domain
6. Evaluation Judges the value of information
  • judging & assessing
  • requires making judgments
        and offering opinions
  • assess
  • evaluate
  • interpret
  • judge
  • decide
  • rate
  • score
  • write
  • appraise
  • compare
  • conclude
  • contrast
  • criticize
  • describe
  • discriminate
  • explain
  • justify
  • support
  • 5. Synthesis Builds a pattern from diverse elements
  • integrate learning from
        different areas
  • solve problems by creative
        thinking
  • requires original
        communication
  • solving a problem that has
        more than one possible
        answer
  • compile
  • compose
  • design
  • reconstruct
  • formulate
  • write
  • predict
  • develop
  • categorize
  • combine
  • devise
  • explain
  • generate
  • organize
  • plan
  • rearrange
  • reconstruct
  • revise
  • 4. Analysis Separates information into parts for better understanding
  • recognition of unstated
        assumptions or logical
        fallacies
  • ability to distinguish between
        facts and inferences
  • requires breaking complex
        whole into parts
  • identify motives or causes
  • determine evidence
  • compare
  • discriminate
  • distinguish
  • separate
  • analyze
  • support
  • draw
       conclusions
  • diagram
  • differentiate
  • illustrate
  • infer
  • point out
  • relate
  • select
  • subdivide
  • 3. Application Applying knowledge to a new situation
  • solving problems
  • applying concepts and
        principles to new situations
  • requires use of knowledge to
        reach an answer or solve a
        problem
  • compute
  • demonstrate
  • employ
  • operate
  • solve
  • write an
       example
  • apply
  • classify
  • demonstrate
  • modify
  • operate
  • prepare
  • produce
  • relate
  • show
  • solve
  • use
  • 2. Comprehension Understanding information
  • understanding of facts and
       principles
  • interpretation of material
  • grasping a literal message
  • requires rephrasing or
        rewording
  • convert
  • explain
  • locate
  • report
  • restate
  • select
  • defend
  • distinguish
  • estimate
  • extend
  • generalize
  • give
       examples
  • infer
  • predict
  • summarize
  • 1. Knowledge Recall of data
  • common terms, facts,
        principles, procedures
  • requires memory only
  • describe
  • identify
  • name
  • point to
  • recognize
  • recall
  • define
  • label
  • list
  • match
  • outline
  • reproduce
  • select
  • state
  • M. David Merrill offered a radical simplification of Bloom's cognitive taxonomy by offering just two performance criteria:

    • Details of Bloom's resources on the cognitive domain are presented in a section of this site called "Bloom's Taxonomy: Cognitive Domain".
    • In addition the hierarchy of knowledge is presented in the section entitled "Knowledge & Understanding" to explore distinctions between data, information, knowledge and wisdom.
    • Merrill's taxonomy is described in the section of this site called "5 Star Instruction" as it relates to components of instruction (information & portrayal).
    • The "Task Oriented Question Construction Wheel Based on Bloom's Taxonomy" is shown at the bottom of this page.

    Charles Reigeluth has also offered a simplified planning model for content analysis and determining instructional objectives. It is based on three major levels of cognitive learning (1999):

    • Memorize (encode and retrieve facts),
    • Understand (relate new ideas to relevant prior knowledge),
    • Apply (transfer learning to new situations; identify critical commonalities across situations).

    A major revision of the Bloom taxonomy has also been suggested by Anderson and Krathwohl in their book A Taxonomy for Learning,Teaching, and Assessing: A Revision of Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (2001), New York: Longman. Their approach incorporates both the kind of knowledge to be learned (knowledge dimension) and the process used to learn (cognitive process dimension ). This framework enables the teacher to efficiently define instructional objectives, and align objectives with assessment techniques. The dimensions are illustrated in the following table that serves as a tool for writing clear and focused objectives. This model is particularly insightful because it emphasizes the importance of meta-cognitive knowledge and skills which are essential for higher-order thinking and problem-solving.

    Anderson & Krathwohl's Cognitive Process Dimension identifies specific verbs that can be used when writing well-formed instructional objectives.

    Remember: Recognizing, recalling
    Understand: Interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, explaining
    Apply: Executing, implementing
    Analyze: Differentiating, organizing, attributing
    Evaluate: Checking, critiquing
    Create: Generating, planning, producing

     

    Types of Instruction by Performance

    A more complex view of learning performance and content types has been offered by Michigan Virtual University. The following chart has been adapted to summarize the various Types of Instruction. It is based on the concepts of learner performance as proposed by Merrill (1999), Bloom (1956), van Merrienboer (1997).

    The most recent version of the Performance-Knowledge Type Mapping can be found here: Course Evaluator PK Type Mapper. This tool is constantly being evolved, so the current version will have some differences in detail as compared to the 2004 version of the tool shown here. What is constant is the basic mental model being promoted by Michigan Virtutal University.

    Learner Performance
    Content Types

    Discrete Skills & Knowledge

     Remember
     Identify
     Apply

     Facts
     Concepts
     Tasks / Procedure
     Principles
     Process
     Scenario / Situation

    Complex Skills & Knowledge

     Problem-solve with support
     Problem-solve without support
     Derive conclusions with support
     Derive conclusions without support

    © MIVU, 2004

     

    Instruction Types by Performance

    Discrete Skills and Knowledge

    Complex Skills and Knowledge

    Remember

    Identify

    Apply

    Problem Solve w/supports

    Problem Solve
    w/o supports

    Derive w/support

    Derive
    w/o support

    Recall or Identify Facts (F)

     

    Students are presented with a unique scenario or situation in which they are directed to use single or multiple discrete skills and knowledge in order to reach a stated objective (S1)

    Students are presented with a unique scenario or situation in which they must decide how to reach a stated objective (S2)

    Students are directed to use single or multiple discrete skills and knowledge in order to hypothesize, infer or draw a conclusion about a unique scenario or situation
    (D1)

    Students hypothesize, infer or draw a conclusion about a unique scenario or situation
    (D2)

    Recall or State a Concept (C1)

    Recognize or Identify Instances of a Concept (C2)

    Use a Concept
    (C3)

    Recall or State the Steps of a Task
    (T1)

    Recognize or Identify the Steps of a Task
    (T2)

    Perform a Task
    (T3)

    Recall or State a Principle (P1)

    Recognize or Identify a Principle at Work
    (P2)

    Apply a Principle (P3)

    © MIVU, 2004

    Following are specific definitions and examples for each type of instruction:

    Remember-Facts (F) - The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to memorize, recall or identify a Fact. We define a Fact as information pertaining to persons, places, things or rules. Facts often include a label and a description. Examples of Facts include things such as “the United States is made up of 50 states”, “the color of the sky is blue” and “2 + 2 = 4 or the sum of 2 plus 2 is 4”.

    Remember-Concepts (C1) - The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to memorize and describe a Concept and its characteristics. A Concept is defined as being an instance or a group of objects, events, people, places or ideas that share common characteristics and are identified by the same name. For example, “mammals” (warm blooded, fur bearing, gives live birth, and nurses their young) and “blues” (back beat rhythm and based on pentatonic scales) would both be Concepts.

    Remember-Tasks (T1) - The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to learn and memorize the steps of a Task. A Task is a series of simple or complex actions which, when performed in a certain order, results in a desired consequence of simple or complex nature. Examples of Tasks would include “baking a cake”, “pruning a bush” or “assembling a bicycle”.

    Remember-Principles (P1) - The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to learn and memorize the events, conditions and results of a Principle. Principles must include a relationship and variables (independent and dependent). And can be defined as a set of rules or statements that describes the conditions under which certain events or phenomenon occur. Gravity (where mass, distance and acceleration are variables that interact to produce certain results as the variables are changed) would be an example of a principle.

    Identify-Concepts (C2) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to be able to identify or point out instances of a Concept from a number of examples or non-examples. Examples include identifying instances of the Concept “dog” from a group of different animals, or listening to different kinds of music and determining which ones are examples of the Concept “polyphony”.

    Identify-Tasks (T2) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to be able to identify or point out the correct order of the steps in a Task (similar to Remember-Elements). For example, when learners are presented the steps of a Task, they should be able to determine if the steps are in correct sequence, and if not, point out the error and put the steps in the correct sequence.

    Identify-Principles (P2) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to be able to identify or point out the variables, conditions and/or relationships of Principles at work that are present in a given or observed event. For example, learners are provided with a number of weather statistics and conditions then asked to identify which ones were directly related to the thunderstorm that just occurred.

    Use-Concepts (C3) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to apply learned Concepts within a specific context or situation. For example, learners are asked to attend a music recital and report on the different musical Concepts they recognized throughout the recital.

    Perform-Tasks (T3) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to perform the steps of a Task to produce the desired results.

    Apply-Principles (P3) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to apply knowledge about known or studied Principles in order to explain, predict or troubleshoot events. For example, learners are provided with meteorological data for different regions across the country and asked to predict or forecast the weather for the next 3 days; or learners are asked to troubleshoot a specific mechanical problem, determine the cause, and provide a solution.

    Solve-Supported (S1) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to be able to use a given set of previously learned knowledge in order to solve unique problems that closely resemble real-world situations. For example, learners are presented with case studies or transcripts from real-world events, and provided with specific instructions on what skills and knowledge they will use to solve the problem.

    Solve-Unsupported (S2) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to be able to solve unique problems that closely resemble real-world situations, without regard to the methods, processes or skills used to solve the problem. Learners rely solely on previously learned skills and knowledge to accomplish a goal or solve a problem.

    Derive-Supported (D1) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to be able to apply specific sets of knowledge in order to make and support hypotheses, inferences or conclusions about scenarios that closely resemble real-world situations. For example, learners are asked to determine the likelihood that a proposed corn hybrid will produce high yields based on targeted growing conditions.

    Derive-Unsupported (D2) – The goal of this type of instruction is for learners to be able to make and support hypotheses, inferences or conclusions about scenarios that closely resemble real-world situations, without regard to the methods, processes or skills used to derive and support their conclusions. For example, learners are asked to provide art critiques of two artists who are having shows at a local art gallery.
    © MIVU, 2004

    Simple and Complex Learner Behavior

    The following table summarizes the range of simple to complex behavior which can be used in describing the performance of a learner

    Most Complex

    Complex

    Least Complex

    Indeterminate

    apply a rule

    classify

    distinguish

    compose

    define

    demonstrate

    identify

    construct

    describe

    diagram

    measure

    label

    interpret

    estimate

    name

    read

    predict

    evaluate

    order

    solve

     

    locate

    state a rule

    translate

    APPLY A RULE: To state a rule as it applies to a situation, object or event that is being analyzed. The statement must convey analysis of a problem situation and/or its solution, together with the name or statement of the rule that was applied.

    CLASSIFY: To place objects, words, or situations into categories according to defined criteria for each category. The criteria must be made known to the student.

    COMPOSE: To formulate a composition in written, spoken, musical or artistic form.

    CONSTRUCT: To make a drawing, structure, or model that identifies a designated object or set of conditions.

    DEFINE: To stipulate the requirements for inclusion of an object, word, or situation in a category or class. Elements of one or both of the following must be included: (1) The characteristics of the words, objects, or situations that are included in the class or category. (2) The characteristics of the words, objects, or situations that are excluded in the class or category. To define is to set up criteria for classification.

    DEMONSTRATE: The student performs the operations necessary for the application of an instrument, model, device, or implement. NOTE: There is a temptation to use demonstrate in objectives such as, "the student will demonstrate his knowledge of vowel sounds." As the verb is defined, this is improper use of the term (improper construction of a measurable objective).

    DESCRIBE: To name all of the necessary categories of objects, object properties, or event properties that are relevant to the description of a designated situation. The objective is of the form, "The student will describe this order, object, or event," and does not limit the categories that may be used in mentioning them. Specific or categorical limitations, if any, are to be given in the performance standards of each objective.

    DIAGRAM: To construct a drawing with labels and with a specified organization or structure to demonstrate knowledge of that organization or structure. Graphic charting and mapping are types of diagramming, and these terms may be used where more exact communication of the structure of the situation and response is desired.

    DISTINGUISH: To identify under conditions when only two contrasting identifications are involved for each response.

    ESTIMATE: To assess the dimension of an object, series of objects, event or condition without applying a standard scale or measuring device. Logical techniques of estimation, such as are involved in mathematical interpolation, may be used. See MEASURE.

    EVALUATE: To classify objects, situations, people, conditions, etc., according to defined criteria of quality. Indication of quality must be given in the defined criteria of each class category. Evaluation differs from general classification only in this respect.

    IDENTIFY: To indicate the selection of an object of a class in response to its class name, by pointing, picking up, underlining, marking, or other responses.

    INTERPRET: To translate information from observation, charts, tables, graphs, and written material in a verifiable manner.

    LABEL: To stipulate a verbal (oral or written) response to a given object, drawing, or composition that contains information relative to the known, but unspecified structure of these objects, drawings, or compositions. Labeling is a complex behavior that contains elements of naming and identifying.

    LOCATE: To stipulate the position of an object, place, or event in relation to other specified objects, places, or events. Ideational guides to location such as grids, order arrangements and time may be used to describe location. Note: Locate is not to be confused with IDENTIFY.

    MEASURE: To apply a standard scale or measuring device to an object, series of objects, events, or conditions, according to practices accepted by those who are skilled in the use of the device or scale.

    NAME: To supply the correct name, in oral or written form for an object, class of objects, persons, places, conditions, or events which are pointed out or described.

     

    Gagné's Taxonomy of Learning Outcomes

    In 1985 Robert Gagné offered a classification of the types of learning outcomes.

    This snap shot can be used as a comparison against the more complex model presented above.

    Type of Learning
    Performance or Outcome

    Verbal Information

    stating previously learned material such as facts, concepts, principles, and procedures
    Intellectual Skills  
       Discriminations distinguishing objects, features or symbols
       Concrete Concepts identifying classes of concrete objects, features, or events
       Defined Concepts

    classifying new examples of events or ideas by their definition

       Rules apply to example; apply a single relationship to solve a class of problems
       Problem-solving
         (higher order rules)
    generate solutions or procedures; applying a new combination of rules to solve a complex problem
    Cognitive Strategies use a method to enhance or guide learning, thinking, acting and feeling
    Motor skills enable physical performance
    Attitudes demonstrate by preferring options; choose personal actions based on internal states of understanding and feeling

     

    Instructional Activities & Assessment

    Bloom's 1956 task force was an important landmark that influenced ongoing research into cognitive skills, and the activities & media to achieve these goals. The following tool was created at St Edward's University (Austin, TX) after the Bloom model in an effort to relate the Cognitive Domains to the key verbs for creating assessment questions, and to the context of instructional activities and media. It is referred to a as a "Task Oriented Question Construction Wheel". Note the following layers in the wheel:

    • Bloom taxonomy: Cognitive Domain
    • Key verbs (observable behavior) for assessment questions
      (more information here)
    • Learning activities and media

    Click on the graphic to pop-up a readable version.

    Task Oriented Question Construction Wheel Based on Bloom's Taxonomy. ©2001 St. Edward's University Center for Teaching Excellence.

     

    References

    Bloom, B.S. (Ed.). (1956). Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Classification of Educational Goals. Handbook 1: Cognitive Domain. New York: Longman, Green & Co.

     Michigan Virtual University

     Reigeluth, Charles (editor, 1983). Instructional Design Theories and Models Volume I & II. website: http://www.indiana.edu/~idtheory/green1.html

     Task Oriented Question Construction Wheel Based on Bloom's Taxonomy. ©2001 St. Edward's University Center for Teaching Excellence. website: http://www.stedwards.edu/cte/resources/bwheel.htm

    Types
    of
    Instruction

      ©2003 Cognitive Design Solutions, Inc.