Concept Classification, Page 6
Common errors novice designers make
There are several errors that novice instructional designers commonly make when designing instruction on concept classification tasks. First, they often name the subordinate concepts (kinds) in examples and practice. For example, suppose you were teaching the concept "woodwind instrument" in music, and your only objective was for the learners to be able to classify any musical instrument as a woodwind or not a woodwind. Many novice designers would say in an example, "This is a clarinet, so it is a woodwind." Or they would say in their feedback, "No, this is an oboe, so it is a woodwind." There is nothing wrong with this if the learner already knows what a clarinet or oboe is. But if a learner doesn't, then this just adds to the amount the learner needs to try to figure outóit makes learning more difficult rather than easier. Even when such subordinate concepts are also among your objectives, it is generally better to help them master the higher-level concept (woodwind instrument) first, and then teach its subordinate concepts. The subordinate concepts can be taught simultaneously with each other, as long as there aren't too many of them. Otherwise they can be taught in sets of 3 or 4 at a time.
A second error novice designers commonly make is not indicating the criterion for mastery on the practice. This is important for both situations in which the learner will exercise full control over their progress and situations in which a teacher (or computer) will exercise such control.
In summary, the following guidelines (or prescriptive principles) are likely to improve the quality of your instruction:
- Make sure prerequisites (critical characteristics) have been mastered ;
- Present a prototypical example, with explanation ;
- Make a generality available ;
- Make additional examples available, with explanations ;
- Present some of the examples with matched nonexamples ;
- Make practice available ;
- Provide feedback on all practice (confirmation, explanation, or hint ;
- Make instances as different as possible ;
- Arrange instances in an easy-to-difficult order ;
- Use a variety of representations.
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- Concept Classification by Charles M. Reigeluth. Used by Permission.