The talk about learning styles bled into some discussion of Bloom’s Taxonomy and Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction, so it seems like a naturally progression that I discuss one of these (I’ve talked exhaustively about Bloom’s Taxonomy, so Gagne’s on my hit list).
Gagne’s 9 Events of Instruction
Instructional Designer and scholar, Robert Gagne seems to have loved numbers. He breaks everything down into them – 5 categories of learning, 8 ways to learn, but most notably, he identified nine events of instruction:
1.Gain the learners’ attention
2.Inform learners of the objective
3.Stimulate recall of prior learning
4.Present the stimulus
5.Provide guidance for the learners
6.Elicit learn performance
8.Assess learner performance.
9.Enhance retention and transfer
Per Gagne’s original conception, each event requires at least one instructional activity, and the sequence of the instruction is a direct correlation to the efficacy of instruction.
These are great, but how do they apply?
- Gain the learners’ attention – Begin your instruction asking a thought-provoking question that will get your learners engaged in discussion (or at least some critical thinking). I usually ask my learners a few questions about their thoughts on certain topics that will be discussed in that class. This allows them to provide a self-assessment response of sorts (albeit informal), with which they can reflect on at the end of the lecture.
- Inform learners of the objective – Identify the learning objectives for the course; be as specific and measurable as you can. The learners need to know what they can expect to get out of the course/module/lesson – Check out this neat learning objective generator from easygenerator.com.
- Stimulate recall of prior learning – Your learners may engage more with the content or retain the content better if you relate the new information to things they already know. For example, in my class, there are a lot of learners who are teachers within the local school board; as such, I often relate new information with similar concepts they may have encountered within their schools. This helps facilitate deeper understanding of the concepts being discussed as they feel more tangible to the learners.
- Present the stimulus – Be creative! Within the face-to-face environment, you can vary your presentation, your pitch, your tone, your intonation…you can beat box your lesson if you want. It’s a bit trickier in the online environment. Here, you’ll need to get creative with your e-learning, crafting interactions the students can immerse themselves in, such as software simulations, click and reveal interactions, case studies, etc.
- Provide guidance for the learners – Provide support for your learners. This can be as simple as including additional resources, job aids, or navigation instructions. Don’t make them fly blind.
- Illicit learner performance – Let your learners apply their understanding. The sooner learners can apply the newly learned information, the more likely they will be able to retain it.
- Provide feedback – Providing feedback on your learner’s performance will help them improve as they progress throughout the course. Be timely with your feedback, as this will be most effective.
- Assess learner performance – Provide learners with a formal assessment. The assessment should mimic what has been presented throughout the practice opportunities, and you will only assess learners on information they were presented – no new information.
- Enhance retention and transfer – You can help facilitate learner retention by providing them with information to take with them in the future, such as written feedback, job aids, or checklists.