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Instructional Methods

Method Advantages Limitations
  • Allows students to actively practice problem-solving, critical-thinking, and higher-level skills
  • Is interesting and stimulating for teachers and students
  • Can change attitude and knowledge level
  • Makes effective use of students' backgrounds and experiences
  • Students must have a common experience in order to participate (read book, view video, activity)
  • Teacher must prepare and possess discussion-leading skills for the method to be effective
Drill and Practice
  • Provides repetitive practice in basic skills 
  • Promotes low-level cognitive skills
  • Helps build speed and accuracy
  • Students can perceive it as boring
  • Does not teach when and how to apply the facts learned
  • Provides optimum individualization instruction
  • Provides the highest degree of student participation
  • Expands the number of teachers in the classroom by the number of computers
  • Introduces new concepts in a sequenced, interactive way
  • May be impractical in many cases because appropriate tutorial material is not available
  • May encourage student dependency on human tutor
  • Utilizes several senses
  • Has dramatic appeal if the presenter uses good showmanship techniques
  • Provides holistic perspective
  • Reduces hazards and trial-and-error learning experiments or procedures
  • May be difficult for all students to see the demonstration
  • Is time consuming
  • Demonstrations do not always go as planned
  • Can be used with groups of all sizes
  • Give students the opportunity to see and hear the same information
  • Provides students with an organized perspective of lesson content
  • Can be used efficiently to present a large amount of content
  • Requires little student activity
  • Make assessment of student's mental involvement difficult
  • Doesn't provide feedback to students
  • One-way approach
Cooperative Learning
  • Promotes positive interdependence, individual accountability, collaborative and social skills and group processing
  • Encourages communication and leadership skills
  • Facilitates student learning in  academic and social skills
  • Involves students in active learning
  • Requires a compatible group
  • Group dynamics must be planned and organized 
  • Takes more time to cover the same amount of material
  • Is less appealing to individuals who prefer to work alone
  • Encourages higher-level thinking
  • Provides intrinsic motivation 
  • Usually results in increased retention of knowledge
  • Develops the skills and attitudes essential for self-directed learning
  • Allows for the discovery of "incorrect" or unintended information
  • Can be time consuming
Problem Solving
  • Increases comprehension and retention
  • Involves higher-level learning
  • Provides students with the opportunity to learn for their mistakes
  • Develops responsibility as students learn to think independently
  • Limits the amount of content covered; can be time consuming
  • Selecting, modifying, and designing effective instructional problems can be time consuming
  • Requires teachers to have good management skills to coach students without giving answers
  • Actively involves students and encourages social interaction among players
  • Can be incorporated into many instructional situations to increase motivation
  • Helps students learn to deal with unpredictable circumstances
  • May involve students with competition more than content
  • Can be time consuming to set up and monitor
  • Can sometimes cause off-task behavior if students loose content focus and become involved in winning the game
  • Provides practice and experimentation with skills
  • Provides immediate feedback on actions and decisions
  • Simplifies real-world complexities and focuses on attributes or characteristics
  • Is appealing, motivates intense effort and increases learning
  • Can cause deep emotional involvement (students identify with the characters in the simulation)
  • Both set-up and debriefing can be time consuming

Source:  Newby, Timothy et al.  Instructional Technology for Teaching and Learning.  Merrill:  Columbus, Ohio, 2000, p. 98-99.

This page was updated on:  04/10/02