Choosing optimal methods to support learning outcomes.
Teaching methods are the broader techniques used to help students achieve learning outcomes, while activities are the different ways of implementing these methods. Teaching methods help students:
Instructors should identify which teaching methods will properly support a particular learning outcome. Its effectiveness depends on this alignment. To make the most appropriate choice, an instructor should consider learning outcomes, student needs and the learning environment.
Consider the following example:
This example demonstrates alignment of what the instructor wants students to do, and how they are supported in these tasks. If the instructor choses a different teaching method, such as a traditional lecture, students would need to process the lecture’s content and apply principles simultaneously. This is very difficult to do and would lead to less successful outcomes.
Choosing the appropriate teaching method brings instruction to life while encouraging students to actively engage with content and develop their knowledge and skills.
The chart below provides a number of teaching methods to choose from. Teaching methods vary in their approach, some are more student-centered while others are more instructor centered, and you will see this reflected in the chart. Choose methods that will best guide your students to achieve the learning outcomes you’ve set and remember that your teaching approach, teaching methods and activities all work together.
|Teaching Approach|| |
Definition/What students do
Instructor presenting material and answering student questions that arise. Students receive, take in and respond
|Demonstration, modeling, questions (convergent), presentation, slideshow, note-taking|
|Interactive Lecture||A lecture that includes 2-15 minute breaks for student activities every 12-20 minutes.||Multiple-choice items, solving a problem, comparing and filling in lecture notes, debriefing a mini case study, pair-compare, pair-compare-ask, reflection/reaction paragraph, solve a problem, concept mapping activities, correct the error, compare and contrast, paraphrase the idea, answer knowledge and comprehension questions|
|Directed Discussion||Class discussion that follows a pre-determined set of questions to lead students to certain realizations or conclusions, or to help them meet a specific learning outcome||Direct, specific, or open-ended questions that are connected to learning outcomes and include varied cognitive processes|
|Direct Instruction||Lecturing, but includes time for guided and independent practice|| |
Create mind/concept maps, free writes, one-sentence summary, one minute papers
|Guided Instruction||Direct and structure instruction that includes extensive instructor modeling and student practice time||Showing and explaining examples, model strategies, demonstrate tasks, classify concepts, define vocabulary, scaffold steps|
|Just-in-Time Teaching|| |
Instructor adjusts class activities and lectures to respond to the misconceptions revealed by assessing students’ prior knowledge
Warmups, Goodfors, Conceptual questions (usually a quiz) to motivate students to do the readings
|Experiential Learning||Students focus on their learning process through application, observation and reflection||Debates, panel discussion, press conference, symposium, reflection journals, lab experiments|
|Case-based Learning||Students apply course knowledge to devise one or more solutions or resolutions to problems or dilemmas presented in a realistic story or situation||Case study analysis, collaborative scenario-based discussions|
|Inquiry-based or Inquiry Guided Learning||Students learning or applying material in order to meet a challenge, answer a question, conduct an experiment, or interpret data||Worked examples, process worksheets, analyze data sets, evaluate evidence, apply findings to a situation or problem and synthesize resolution(s), answer probing questions about a given research study, ask and answer “What will happen if…?” questions|
|Problem-based Learning|| |
Student groups conducting outside research on student-identified learning issues (unknowns) to devise one or more solutions or resolutions to problems or dilemmas presented in a realistic story or situation
Review and critique research studies, work in groups/teams to solve a specific open-ended problem, labs
|Project-based Learning||Students applying course knowledge to produce something; often paired with cooperative learning||Group work/team project – design or create something – e.g., piece of equipment, a product or architectural design, a computer code, a multimedia presentation, an artistic or literary work, a website, research study, service learning|
|Role Plays and Simulations|| |
Students acting out roles or improvising scripts, in a realistic and problematic social or interpersonal situation. Students playing out, either in person, or virtually, a hypothetical social situation that abstracts key elements from reality
|Real-life situations and scenarios, debates, interviews, frame simulation|
|Student-Centered||Fieldwork and Clinicals||Students learning how to conduct research and make sound professional judgements in real-world situations||Internships, assistantships, community service, shadowing|
Using the Course Design Template explore the aspects that will likely affect your course.
Now that you’ve reviewed a variety of teaching methods and considered which ones align with your learning outcomes, the next step is to consider activities.