Module 2: Invariant Tasks 


Basic Methods of Instruction

1.Kinds of Learning
2.Invariant Tasks
3.Concept Classification
4.Procedure Using
5.Principle Using
7.Generic Skills

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- Copyright 1999 by Charles M. Reigeluth. All rights reserved -
If you are interested in developing the skill to design instruction for invariant tasks, I suggest you pick a real-world project to design some instruction on an invariant task using the following criteria: 
  • Your invariant task is a mental or physical task that is always the same (invariant), such as a list of items to be memorized or an invariant procedure (set of steps) that needs to be memorized,
  • The instruction may be for any delivery system, such as live delivery in a classroom or tutoring situation; or for delivery using computers for drill-and-practice instruction or Internet-based instruction; or for paper-based self-study modules; or whatever.
  • For live instruction, you can just develop a detailed lesson plan; for computer-based instruction, you can just develop story boards.
  • You should pick your target population of learners such that the task is fairly difficult for them to learn (e.g., many items or difficult items).
For all your instruction, you should present some sample displays showing exactly what should be shown or said to the learner (e.g., screen and sound displays) and what response should be elicited from the learner, if any. And it should portray a sequence, indicating what should be done when, including any "branching" (response-sensitive instruction). 

In the margin next to each display, identify (label) each tactic that you used. Your displays should exhibit good layout (page or screen design), as well as good instructional design. If the nature of the displays is repetitive, you may just indicate that more displays of the same type will be presented in the same sequence, and indicate what content would go in each "round" of displays. 

Once you have selected your project and learner population, try to come up with a "quick and dirty" vision of how you would teach it before you read on. Then as you read, try to figure out how you would change your initial vision (if at all) with each new idea you encounter. 

You have undertaken a project to develop some instruction. To make the project manageable for you, it only entails teaching the simplest kind of learning: memorizing some mental or physical task that is always the same (invariant). This module is intended to help you learn some of what you need to know to be successful at this project. It starts by discussing the nature of what your students will be learning and why it may be important for them to learn. Then it explores how this kind of learning occurs and how you can best facilitate it. 

As you come to understand the principles of learning and instruction associated with memorizing invariant tasks, you will also come to understand some of the basics of instruction for more complex kinds of learning.

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This file was last updated on March 10, 1999 by Byungro Lim
Copyright 1999, Charles M. Reigeluth Credit