Instructional Strategies

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Instructional Strategies

Instructional Strategies

When organizing instruction, it is helpful for the ID to be familiar with instructional strategies so that learning can be effectively facilitated.

Learning Environments

The next section will focus on instructional delivery formats and go into more detail on the various ways that instruction is typically delivered. It is important to take into consideration the learner's environment when organizing content:

  • If learners are going to be taking instruction in a classroom setting, it is important to know how many students will be attending. If it is a small group, then small-group activities and other interactive scenarios will likely work. If it is a larger group, the instructional designer may need to think of different ways to foster interaction, perhaps larger-group role-playing situations.
  • If the learning will be facilitated by an instructor, this is called direct teaching. If an instructor is going to be teaching the instruction, it is often useful for the ID to include instructor notes, to help guide the instructor and even point out areas where students may need more instruction.
  • If the learning will be online learning, small-group activities will not work. It would be important for the instructional designer to know ahead of time if all students have basic computer skills and access to a computer or other device. Often in online courses, a "how to navigate this course" section is included, since students often do not have the ability to ask for help in person, unless they have access to IT professionals in their workplace. The same can be said for webinars; students must have computers with Internet hookups to participate. This is something that the instructional designer should consider when designing training.

Instructional Strategies

Instructional strategies are how the learners will experience the training. Lecture and demonstration activities are two that most people are familiar with; however, they do not always work best in an instructional design setting.

There are a number of different activities that can be incorporated into the learning by the ID, depending on the learning environment and the instructional goals and objectives that have been developed.

It can help to determine what is being taught, to determine which strategy to use.

The following are the common instructional elements and some strategies to teach them:


Facts are basic elements that need to be learned and remembered. According to Bloom's, they are usually in the knowledge area of the cognitive domain.

The following are some examples of facts:

  • You use the PowerPoint Animation pane to add animations to your graphics.
  • The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is the world's largest stock exchange, located in New York City.
  • The Bcc field in email stands for "blind carbon copy" and allows you to copy people on an email without the other recipients knowing.

The best way to teach a fact is often through repetition, as well as identifying similarities and differences. This can be done through examples and nonexamples.

Facts should be repeated and chunked appropriately, that is, so that it is logically grouped.


Concepts are slightly more complex than facts, usually in the comprehension level of Bloom's taxonomy.

A concept is an idea or a notion.

The following are examples of concepts:

  • The ADDIE instructional design model.
  • Negotiation tactics in dealing with difficult employees.
  • Microsoft Word Track Changes feature.

Teaching concepts can be accomplished through discrimination, having the student determine the concept versus a nonexample, as well as through classification. In classification, the learner notes how things differ and what is similar.


Rules are the relationships between concepts. Rules can be "if, then" or cause and effect, for example.

Examples of rules include:

  • If you misspell something in Microsoft Word, a red line will appear under it.
  • Low employee morale can lead to high turnover rates.
  • Following up with a potential client after a sales call can close the deal.

Rules can be taught with a summary/review process, where the rules are presented, for example, in a list, and then the list is again presented in review as a graphic.


Procedures are made up of steps, and are usually in the application level of Bloom's taxonomy. Procedures are more complex instructional elements. An example of a procedure would be:

  1. Open the Microsoft Word document you want to print.
  2. From the File menu, select Print.
  3. View a print preview and select any options you need to change.
  4. When ready to print, click Print.

Procedures are often taught through practice, introducing the procedure, and then having the learner demonstrate the practice.