Review Table 6-2: Instructional design for different learner characteristics on p. 119 from the Gagne, Briggs, & Wager reading.

Review Table 6-2: Instructional design for different learner characteristics on p. 119 from the Gagne, Briggs, & Wager reading. The table includes eight learner characteristics: intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, verbal information, attitudes, motor skills, schemas, abilities, and traits. Each of these characteristics holds meaningful implications for the instructional design choices of a teacher. Consider the extent to which you infuse these eight characteristics into your teaching practice.

  • Do you feel you successfully incorporate each of the eight across most of your lessons? Do you have a particular preference for perhaps three or four? Which of the characteristics, if any, do you seem to favor more so than others? give practical example
  • Can you reflect as to why you might be drawn to some of the characteristics? Is it a function of time, the nature of the content, assessment demands, etc.? How do the external conditions of your teaching environment influence your selection of the eight learner characteristics? give examples
  • In what way do you think you can be more inclusive of any of the neglected characteristics? give practical examples

If you are not currently teaching, please reflect on how you imagine you would balance each of the eight characteristics in a future classroom lesson. How could a future teacher make instructional design choices that successfully attend to all of the characteristics?

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1. Gagne, R. M., Briggs, L. J., & Wager, W. W. (1992). Principles of instructional design. Harcourt Brace College Publishers.

  • Read pp 37-119. Part Two: Basic processes in learning and instruction, Chapters 3-6
  • Chapter 3: One source of complexity in defining educational goals arises from the need to translate goals from the very general to the increasingly specific. Many layers of such goals would be needed to be sure that each topic in the curriculum actually moves the learner a step closer to the distant goal. Despite the involved nature of this problem, means are available for classifying course objectives into categories that then make it possible to examine the scope of types of human capabilities the course is intended to develop. This chapter groups objectives into five categories of capabilities which are described in a classroom setting.
  • Chapter 4: This chapter examines the nature of the performance capabilities implied by each of the five categories of learned capabilities. Beginning with intellectual skills and cognitive strategies, the authors’ outline (1) examples of learned performances in terms of different school subjects, (2) the kinds of internal conditions of learning needed to reach the new capability, and (3) the external conditions affecting its learning.
  • Chapter 5: Chapter 5 provides a description of three different kinds of learning: verbal information, attitudes, and motor skills. Although they have some features in common, their most notable characteristic is that they are in fact different in the kinds of outcome performances which are possible: (1) Verbal information: Verbally stating facts, generalizations, organized knowledge. (2) Attitude: Choosing a course of personal action. (3) Motor skill: Executing a performance of bodily movement.
  • Chapter 6: Learner characteristics that affect the learning of new instructional material assumes several kinds of organization in human memory. The learned capabilities of intellectual skills, cognitive strategies, verbal information, attitudes, and motor skills have direct effects on the learning of new instances of these same kinds of capabilities. Chapter 6 examines outlines learner abilities, skills, and schemas.

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