Understanding: Skill Builder Practice

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


Source: Understanding Understanding by Charles M. Reigeluth. Used by Permission.


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Skill Builder Practice

The following is a summary of what you should do to design instruction for facilitating understanding. This is meant to be used as a guideline, and not all items need to be included in order to design a complete instruction for understanding. The Example section of this lesson will show you what a learning activity will look using this outline. Your task on the next page will be to suggest an enhancement to the learning activity.

Decide What to Teach

  1. Assess the need.
  2. Analyze the goals.
  3. Analyze the learner's current knowledge.
  4. Determine type of understanding (conceptual or causal).


The following tactics are for facilitating conceptual understanding:

Assure Prior Knowledge has been Acquired (prerequisite understandings, meaningful context)

  1. Assess with a pretest.
  2. Remediate if necessary.

Give the presentation (context, information, relationship)

  1. Activate a meaningful context.
  2. Relate the new knowledge to it.
  3. Describe the new knowledge.
  4. Provide enhancement, if needed (see #6 below).

Provide Practice

  1. Paraphrasing the knowledge.
  2. Elaborating the knowledge.
  3. Relating it to superordinate knowledge with context.
  4. Relating it to coordinate knowledge with comparison / contrast.
  5. Relating it to subordinate knowledge with analysis.
  6. Relating it to experiential knowledge with instantiation.
  7. Relating it to analogical knowledge with analogy.
  8. Relating it to causal knowledge with inference.
  9. Relating it to procedural knowledge with function.
  10. Identifying roles with roles.

Note: The types of relationships (dimensions of understanding) that are important for a given concept should be included in the test, practice, and (if enhancement is required) presentation. However, the object of each of these types of relationships (i.e., what the new knowledge is being related to) should be different in the test, practice, and presentation.

Provide Feedback

Confirm or correct.

Provide enhancement as Needed

For the presentation:

  1. Use a guided discovery approach.
  2. Use elaboration techniques:
  3. Relating it to superordinate knowledge with context.
  4. Relating it to coordinate knowledge with comparison / contrast.
  5. Relating it to subordinate knowledge with analysis.
  6. Relating it to experiential knowledge with instantiation.
  7. Relating it to analogical knowledge with analogy.
  8. Relating it to causal knowledge with inference.
  9. Relating it to procedural knowledge with function.
  10. Identifying logical relationships with implication.
  11. Identifying roles with roles.

For the practice: Use hints (prompting).

For the feedback: For a wrong answer, use hints in question form.

Provide Systematic Review

Require the learner to use the knowledge at several evenly spaced points in time over the remainder of the course.

Click Next to continue.

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