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Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

Concept Tutors

The Concept Teaching instructional strategy involves the learning of specific concepts, the nature of concepts, and the development of logical reasoning and critical thinking. When designing units they may be deductive (rule to example) or inductive (example to rule).

Concept teaching should proceed through four primary phases:

  1. Clarify goals and conditions.
  2. Illustrate examples and non-examples.
  3. Students provide examples and non-examples to demonstrate attainment of concept.
  4. Guide students to think about their own thinking (examine their decisions, consequences of choices, how concept fits in with bigger picture).

When using Concept Teaching in the classroom or online environment:

  • Select “big idea” concepts and determine the best approach:
    • Inductive through direct presentation of the concept first,
    • deductive (concept attainment) through examples/non-examples and guided discovery, or
    • combination of both through a guided self directed presentation
  • Clarify aims/establish a “hook” to draw students in.
  • Proceed through the selected approach using examples and non-examples.
  • Get student to demonstrate their understanding.
  • Employ higher-level questioning and discussion strategies — help learners analyze their own thinking process.

ConceptTutor Plus can assist you and/or your students in developing self-directed concept teaching models. The product uses an “interactive tab structure to organize information about the specific concept or topic and can incorporate numerous media types, including images, audio and flash video, into a cohesive learning object.” Click here to download a copy of the software.

Usage Ideas

  • Faculty: in-depth explanation of a concept, drill and practice activities
  • Students: peer-to-peer learning opportunities,  project deliverables, assessment of student understanding

Sample ConceptTutors


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This entry was posted on August 10, 2009 by in Tools.

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