Invariant Tasks: Principles for Teaching

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Back to Topic:Instructional Design > Cognitive behaviors > Invariant Tasks > Define > Learn > Teach > Tactics > Try It > Example

Source: Invariant Tasks by Charles M. Reigeluth. Used by Permission.


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Overview: In the next two sections of this lesson, we address tactics to teach invariant tasks. In this section, we review the tactics associated with the Drill and Practice Model of Instruction. In the next section, we consider how to incorporate Drill and Practice tactics into a game based format. Please continue this lesson by viewing the short video presentation below and by reviewing the key Drill and Practice tactics, including a closer look at mnemonics, flash cards and feedback.


Video Presentation: Teaching Invariant Tasks[edit]

Please view the short video presentation linked here which highlights the key tactics associated with the Drill and Practice Model of Instruction.

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Teaching Invariant Tasks: The Drill and Practice Model of Instruction[edit]

As highlighted within the video, the following instructional tactics facilitate memorization. These tactics collectively are referred to as the "Drill and Practice Model of Instruction."

  • Select subject-matter content and decide what to teach based on need
  • Routine tactics include:
    • Presentation: Present the subject matter and give directions on the focus area
    • Practice: Allow time to review the material and actively practice
    • Feedback: Provide informational and motivation feedback (see below)
  • Enrichment tactics for difficult content include:
    • Chunking: Break content into smaller "chunks"
    • Repetition: Repeat the practice steps
    • Mnemonic: Incorporate memory aids (see below)
    • Prompting: Prompt learner to respond
  • Motivational tactics should build learner:
    • Confidence
    • Satisfaction
  • Review material

A Closer Look at Mnemonics[edit]

As noted above, mnemonics are memory aids which add meaning. The following highlights ways to incorporate mnemonics as a memory aid:

  • By tying items together using first letter mnemonics to:
A. Make a word or acronym, for example:
K-CAASE" to remember Bloom's types of learning:
Knowledge, Comprehension, Application, Analysis, Synthesis, Evaluation.
"ROY G. BIV" to remember the order of the colors in the rainbow:
Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet.
B. Make a phrase or sentence, for example:
"My Very Earnest Mother Just Served Us Nine Pickles" to remember the order of the planets from the sun:
Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto.
  • By associating with something you know by using:
Ideas or "tricks", for example:
To remember that Augusta is the capital of Maine, think of how everyone likes to go to Maine for vacations in August.
Visuals or images, for example:
To remember the mnemonic, K-CAASE, think of a case that is so full of K's that it is stretched, hence the AA instead of just A.
To remember "My Very Earnest Mother . . . ", provide a picture of a mother earnestly serving nine kids one pickle each.
  • By adding a pattern:
    • A song mnemonic, such as the the alphabet song.
    • A rhyme mnemonic, such as: "I before e, except after c, or when it says "aye", as in neighbor or rein."

Additional Examples: Additional mnemonics examples can be found at:

Flash Cards[edit]

To facilitate practice, try flash cards. Here are some examples of tools to create flash cards:

Providing Feedback[edit]

As shown in the video, both informational and motivational feedback play an important role in teaching invariant tasks. Consider these principles when providing feedback:


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