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A pedagogical palimpsest: Retracing some teaching methods

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2 Author(s)
Paskusz, G.F. ; University of Houston, Houston, TX ; Stice, J.E.

Curriculum and course-design theory suggests that there may exist a scientific method for the development of effective courses. Some of the important steps in their design include writing of instructional objectives, selection of instruction method, and others. The paper will deal primarily with one step in this sequence: selection of an instruction method. First seven currently deemed important concepts from learning theory, the "psychological building blocks" in the construction of a course, are indentified and analyzed. Next we discuss identifiable educational processes which may be used in a course. We then describe some of the popular teaching methods and show how the building blocks and processes are used in them. The methods discussed include the traditional lecture, lecture discussion, discussion group, laboratory teaching, self-paced instruction, mastery learning, programmed instruction, audiotutorial instruction, and the open university. The paper culminates with the development of two matrices. The first of these defines the interaction between these teaching methods and their usual building blocks. The second, the "utility matrix," attempts to summarize the effect of choice of method on learning, student acceptance, required faculty effort both in development and in long-term use, need for special equipment or personnel, and ultimately cost.

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:66 ,  Issue: 8 )