The Use of Instructional Materials in College Teaching Presented by: Marilyn V. Eslabra
Background Information on College TeachingIn a n u tsh ell: co lleg e teach in g is co m p rised b y sev eral b eh av io rs a p ro fesso r d isp lay s in class.C o lleg e teach in g is m u ltid im en sio n al. T each in g is co m p lex . It em b o d ies a w id e v ariety o fp ractices an d m eth o d s
Effective teaching is one that produces demonstrable results in terms of the cognitive and affective development of the college students
What do we know about college teaching?After almost 40 years of substantial research on college teaching we have learned our first lesson: Good teaching can promote student learning and development (Cabrera, Colbeck & Terenzini, 1999; Feldman, 1989; Feldman & Paulsen, 1994; Murray, 1990).The second lesson We learned is that in understanding teaching we need to recognize the fact that learning itself is a social phenomenon (Cockrell, Caplow & Donaldson, 2000). In this social context, teaching is but one of many factors that affect student development.
What are IMs These are devices that assist an instructor in the teaching-learning process. Instructional aides are not self-supporting; they are supplementary training devices. The key factor is that instructional aids support, supplement, or reinforce. While instructors may become involved in the selection and preparation of instructional aids, usually they are already in place. Instructors simply need to learn how to effectively use them.
Instructional Aid Theory For many years, educators have theorized about how the human brain and the memory function during the communicative process. There is general agreement about certain theoretical factors that seem pertinent to understanding the use of instructional aides.
During the communicative process, thesensory register of the memory acts as afilter.As stimuli are received, the individuals sensory register works to sort out the important bits of information from the routine or less significant bits. Within seconds, what is perceived as the most important information is passed to the working or short-term memory where it is processed for possible storage in the long-term memory. This complex process is enhanced by the use of appropriate instructional aids that highlight and emphasize the main points or concepts.
The working or short-term memory functionsare limited by both time and capacity. Therefore, it is essential that the information be arranged in useful bits or chunks for effective coding, rehearsal, or recording. The effectiveness of the instructional aid is critical for this process. Carefully selected charts, graphs, pictures, or other well-organized visual aids are examples of items that help the student understand, as well as retain, essential information.
Ideally, instructional aids should be designedto cover the key points and concepts. In addition, the coverage should be straightforward and factual so it is easy for students to remember and recall. Generally, instructional aids that are relatively simple are best suited for this purpose.
Reasons for the use of IMs It helps the students remember important information. When properly used, they help gain and hold the attention of students. Audio or visual aids can be very useful in supporting a topic, and the combination of both audio and visual stimuli is particularly effective since the two most important senses are involved.
Good instructional aides also can help solve certain language barrier problems. Another use for instructional aids is to clarify the relationships between material objects and concepts.
Guidelines for the use of IMs The use of any instructional aid must be planned, based on its ability to support a specific point in a lesson. A simple process can be used to determine if and where instructional aides are necessary. Clearly establish the lesson objective. Be certain of what is to be communicated. Gather the necessary data by researching for support material. Organize the material into an outline or a lesson plan. The plan should include all key points that need to be covered.
The aids should be concentrated on the key points. Aids are often appropriate when long segments of technical description are necessary, when a point is complex and difficult to put into words, when instructors find themselves forming visual images, or when students are puzzled by an explanation or description. Aids should be simple and compatible with the learning outcomes to be achieved.
Obviously, an explanation of elaborate equipment may require detailed schematics or mockups, but less complex equipment may lend itself to only basic shapes or figures. Since aids are normally used in conjunction with a verbal presentation, words on the aid should be kept to minimum. In many cases, visual symbols and slogans can replace extended use of verbiage.
The instructor should avoid the temptation to use the aids as a crutch. The tendency toward unnecessarily distracting artwork also should be avoided. Instructional aides should appeal to the student and be based on sound principles of instructional design. When practical, they should encourage student participation. They also should be meaningful to the student, lead to the desired behavioral or learning objectives, and provide appropriate reinforcement.
All lettering and illustrations must be large enough tube seen easily by the students farthest from the aids Colors, when used, should provide clear contrast and easily be visible. Sequencing can be emphasized and made clearer by the use of contrasting colors. The effectiveness of aids and the ease of their preparation can be increased by initially planning them in rough draft form.
The various roles of instructional materials inthe different modes of teaching/learning It is possible to divide all such methods into three broad groups, which may be loosely described as mass-instruction techniques, individualized-learning techniques and group-learning techniques.
Mass InstructionSome of the specific ways in which instructional materials can be used in lectures and other mass-instructional situations are as follows:
Forming an integral part of the main exposition by providing signposts, guidance for note- taking, illustrative material, work-sheets, etc; Providing students with ready-made handout notes on what is being covered, or with skeleton or interactive handouts that they have to complete themselves; Providing supplementary material (background reading, remedial or extension material, enrichment material, and so on);
Increasing student motivation by sensory stimulation, introducing visually- attractive, interesting or simply different material into an otherwise routine lesson; Illustrating applications, relations, integration of one topic with another, and so on.
Individualized Learning The role of instructional materials in individualized learning is radically different from that in a mass instruction system. In the latter, their role is generally supportive, with the main vehicle of instruction being the teacher or trainer in control of the class; in an individualized-learning system, on the other hand, the materials themselves constitute the vehicle whereby instruction takes place. Some of the specific ways in which instructional materials can be used in individualized learning are given:
Providing instructions and/or guidance on how the learner should carry out a particular course or program of study; Providing the actual material that has to be learned or worked on during the course or program; Providing the learner with exercises for diagnostic or assessment purposes; Providing supplementary or enrichment material.
Group LearningSome of the specific ways in which such courseware can be used in group- learning
Forming an integral part of the group-learning process by providing background information, information about roles, instructions, and so on; Providing supplementary or enrichment material; Increasing student motivation through visually- attractive or intrinsically interesting material.
IMs Presentation Compared with their counterparts of 30 or 40 years ago, modern teachers and trainers have a vast and often bewildering range of presentation techniques and instructional media at their disposal. These can, however, conveniently be classified into seven broad groups, in order of increasing technical sophistication. These groups are:
Printed and duplicated materials Non-projected displays Still projected displays Audio materials Linked audio and still-visual materials Film and video materials Computer mediated materials