I am working on revamping an old project at home in my spare time and came across some of my old learning theory text books from university the other day. One guy that stood out I remember was a guy called Robert Gagne. I still use his 9 Events of Instruction often when creating courses online, it’s like stuck in my mind. Robert Gagne, a lot people consider the dad of Instructional Design, wrote that all instruction is not equal and that different types of instruction are required for different learning outcomes. Though not a groundbreaking concept today, the idea was quite novel back in the day. What this principle means from what I remember is that what an educator does make a difference in what students do, in what students learn, and in what concepts students may or may not develop. This principle also reinforces the instructional design practice of planning student assessments simultaneously with the planning of instructional experiences and of embedding assessments within instructional events. This principle encourages us to answer the instructional design question of what knowledge, skills, and attitudes you want your students to develop and grow and then to design the teaching and learning events to accomplish those goals and determine what evidence will illustrate student accomplishments. An example of this principle is the gradual reintegration of apprenticeships, internships, and complex problem-solving simulations into teaching and learning experiences. So, if the desired outcome is for students to be great chefs, they probably need to cook; if the desired set of skills is becoming entrepreneurs, students probably need to serve as apprentices in an internship environment or at least practice entrepreneurial activities. This principle is also at work with pilot training on simulators and students practicing lab techniques in a model environment. So anyone who designs courses, they should ensure that they have explicitly defined the outcomes they seek to reach and that the learning experiences consistently support and assess these outcomes.
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