Posted: August 7th, 2013
Three Instructional Approaches
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Three Instructional Approaches: ATI, CTI, and the Standard Traditional Model
There are two best-known and widely used classes of instruction methods. These are the Standard Traditional Method and the adaptive methods. The adaptive methods include two major approaches, Aptitude Treatment Interaction (ATI) and Content Treatment Interaction (CTI). All of these approaches focus on imparting the learner with information and an understanding of the contents intended for learning. However, each approach differs in its way of providing instructions to students, while some similarities may exists especially within the adaptive methods. The traditional method is the most widely used, taking the form of lectures or teacher and blackboard where students learn passively. In this approach, students learn through listening to the instructor, and taking notes, as well. On the other hand, the adaptive methods consider the different capabilities of learning and requirements for learning different content (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2009). ATI focus on individual abilities to learning where instructions are structured according to individual capabilities while the CTI focuses on the requirements for learning different content, reckoning that different content require different learning approaches (Kiefta, Rijlaarsdama& Bergh, 2008).
The traditional approach to instruction is the most widely used especially in primary to secondary schools where students sit in class and wait for instructions from the teacher. In this approach, the teacher acts as the expert of knowledge to be learnt, charged with the responsibility of imparting it into students by talking to them directly. The teacher becomes the center of knowledge, to which every student in the classroom must listen to learn. The students become passive learners where the basic method of learning or instruction is listening and taking notes with a focus of passing the tests. Students are required to attend lectures where instructors come with prepared content for learning (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2009). Students listen, take notes, and use textbooks assigned to them for the certain content. This way, they are only required to learn what the instructor teaches through listening. The focus is to have students grasp as much as they can in order to pass their tests. They are not much involved in the determination of the way the content is passed to them. In simpler terms, the traditional approach does not take into consideration the different capabilities of students, as well as requirements for learning different contents (Pashler, McDaniel, Rohrer, & Bjork, 2009).
The traditional approaches fail to recognize that people have different abilities to learning, where some may require increased needs, while others may be good listeners or visual learners. The traditional approach generalizes the instructions for all students within a class, where they are all required to sit in classes listening to the teacher. It assumes that all students can learn through the same instructional approach. The teacher uses the same instruction approach for all students in the class such as explaining some concept. Some students might understand it better by listening while others may prefer practical demonstrations. Traditional learning method has been used for quite a long time, where students sit in class. It has succeeded in many areas, especially where the knowledge to be acquired is basic knowledge of facts that do not need much explanation.
However, as the world develops and more diversified knowledge emerges, complexities of learning have risen, as well. Instructors have come to understand that students require motivation in order to learn. With so much information to consume and use as it is expected, students require instructional approaches that can ensure to maximize their learning by focusing on their traits, as well as the content. Additionally, they require approaches that consider their abilities and maximize chances of learning. Although the traditional approach has been successful in areas that do not require much creativity and critic, it is now recognized that there is no one single way of learning. Thus, due to lack of such ability, the traditional approach has considerable limitations.
The first limitation is the lack of focused learning (Mergendollera, Maxwellb& Bellisimoa, 2000). Traditional approach emphasizes on completion of he set curriculum, standards and passing of the tests. Focused learning focuses on what students require in order to learn, such as questions students seek answers to so that they can understand the content of what they learn. The other drawback in traditional learning is the lack of critical thinking where students are hardly required to think critically. Traditional approach only requires learners sited in a classroom listening to the instructor. It does not allow or grant students a chance to explore their minds (Mergendollera, Maxwellb& Bellisimoa, 2000). This can hinder students from having a deeper understanding of the materials they learn. Additionally, it becomes hard to apply knowledge gained since traditional approach focuses on passing tests rather than understanding contents. Thus, it is not surprising to see student reading too much and understanding too little. Traditional approach views teachers as distributors of information while students are the repositories or warehouses for the information. The approach lacks interaction where each student learns individually. Although groups of studies maybe formed outside of classes, it does not provide for group work. This could hinder students from learning about teamwork, which is essential for their future in various professions. Finally, it does not provide a process oriented learning. Rather, it focuses on passing of tests without considering whether the student understand the concept or not (Mergendollera, Maxwellb& Bellisimoa, 2000).
Contrary to the traditional method or approach, the adaptive methods, seek to eliminate the limitations posed by the traditional method. The adaptive methods recognize some points about learning upon which its approach is based. They recognize that students or individuals have different capabilities, preferences and learning skills, which they would prefer to use in learning. Individuals vary in terms of the learning outcome abilities while different outcomes will require different learning methods. Additionally, the adoptive methods recognize that individual character has a large influence on the ability of the person to learning different content (Kiefta, Rijlaarsdama& Bergh, 2008). Adoptive methods lay their instructions on these basic assumptions. The two adoptive methods, ATI and CTI, have similarities as well as the difference. The similarity occurs in the nature of both to recognize that no single learning approach can fit all learning requirements, people and content. On the other hand, the differences occur where ATI focuses on different learning instructions for each individual while the CTI focuses on different learning instructions for different content, suggesting that different learning content requires different approaches (Kiefta, Rijlaarsdama& Bergh, 2008). Thus, the adoptive methods adopt their instructions.
The ATI focuses on the individual aptitude that can hinder or increase the level or learning ability of the students. In this regard, aptitude is used to mean any characteristic of an individual that can act to increase or hinder their probability in learning. For instance, a person may be a poor listener. This means that learning through listening will be quite hard. On the other hand, the person might happen to be an excellent observer, meaning that visual learning would be best for them. ATI seeks to understand such traits that affect learning in order come up with the best learning approach for each person (Kiefta, Rijlaarsdama& Bergh, 2008). ATI is based on regression analysis, where each valuable is predicted using another valuable. For instance, the effect of novelty seeking trait on learning can be run on a regression analysis to find out whether there is any correlation. It would be expected that novelty seekers be interested in finding out new knowledge all the time. Thus, they could learn better through experiments and explorations. The variables can be measured quantitatively for graphing and running a regression analysis to find out whether any relationship exists.
Therefore, through such research and regression analysis, ATI solely aims at finding out the effect of individual differences to their learning processes in order to recommend an instruction method that would best fit the trait or character. To come up with the best instructional model for different individuals with different personalities, research is carried out where control groups are used for testing the methods. They are compared to uncontrolled groups to find out any difference that could exist. Using different instructional methods for different people has yielded results that suggest different learning outcomes. Several researches conducted have approved the ATI as a credible instructional method for addressing individual differences that influence learning (Kiefta, Rijlaarsdama& Bergh, 2008).
However, despite such approval from several researches, ATI come with some limitations as well hat make it hard to practice. Traits of students can be quite diversified; meaning that coming up with an instructional method that fits each individual would mean using many different instructional approaches to teach the same contents to a group of students. Thus, its suggestion that each person has different learning characters that require different instructional approaches becomes impractical. A teacher cannot use instructional approaches that fit each student’s character since it would mean teaching each student individually. Additionally, the approach emphasizes that there is no one instructional model that can be used for all people. Therefore, it means that, for each character that affects learning, a teacher should use a different instructional approach. Thus, research on this adaptive, instructional model lacks consistency and generalization. The results from various researches do not show enough consistency to provide a generalization. More so, it only considers aptitude and the task of learning as the only basic factors that influence learning. Other factors exist, such as the content to learn, which the focus of the CTI is (Leonard, 2009).
While the ATI focuses on the differences between people or the interaction of aptitude and instruction, the CTI focuses on the effects posed by different learning contents. CTI focuses on certain requirements for learning instead of the learning process. ATI, as illustrated above, will lay its focus on three main approaches in order to adapt an instruction model that would be deemed most appropriate. It focuses on remedying the lack of student preparedness, focusing on strengths and making up for student learning limitations. On the other hand, CTI focuses does not focus on the cognitive abilities of the student. Rather, it focuses on the contents that students are supposed to learn. This approach suggests that different content requires different instructional method. It assumes that contents of what students are supposed to learn are the determinant to of the treatment or instructional model to result. As stated earlier in the essay, it suggests that single instructional approach that is appropriate for all content (Leonard, 2009).
CTI makes several arguments on the reasons for proposing different instructional models for different content. The first reason is that certain content areas will require certain sequences of information in order to learn. This is an argument that some knowledge must be gained before one is in a position to learn more. The second argument is the ability of learners adapting to the task. The final argument is that most students are able to acquire mental skills by using the right approach. A further argument suggests that different contents have different information processing requirements. Thus, the approach seeks to appreciate the differences of the content rather than differences of the learners (Leonard, 2009). Therefore, designers should be seeking to come up with the best instructional method for each form of content. The proponents view the focus on contents to come up with a generalized treatment that can fit all as better than focusing on individual. Though the approach does not refute the importance of focusing on individual differences approach, making it practical is quite hard since students are quite diversified with different abilities. However, if one focused on the content, the treatment would be better since it could focus no the best instructional model for teaching certain content. For instance, instructional method for a practical lesson would be quite different from that of a theoretical class. Thus, this instructional approach maintains that focusing on the content and cognition is better than focusing on the individual.
Despite its advocacy, it has some limitations a well. It focuses on the content and never considers the individual differences. It assumes that all people can learn the content using the same instructional approach. It is essential to have different approaches for different content. However, it should be noted that some people might not learn the content the same way as others. Thus, the method will have its limitations, as well. It considers content as the only fact that affect learning. However, other instructional models and factors influencing learning are crucial, as well.
The adoptive approaches focus on the differences within people in terms of learning. In contrast, the traditional approach does not recognize any difference and everybody is treated the same. The traditional approach dose not adapt to any instructional approach. It maintains its approach where instruction takes place with the teacher drilling information into students, who might not even understand everything since they hardly understand its purpose as well as its meaning (Leonard, 2009). For ATI and CTI, differences in the learning capabilities and requirements are considered, where the style of learning and experiences are the focus. However, the two approaches have their limitations especially when they are alone. When ATI is considered on itself, it will only focus on the differences of learners without considering the requirement for learning the content while the CTI will consider not consider individual differences (Leonard, 2009). Thus, the two approaches could be used to come up with a treatment that suits students learning and allowing critical thinking and understanding of the concept. However, this is quite a hard task considering an instructor cannot address all the requirement and individual differences. However, the adaptive methods should seek to address limitations posed by the traditional approach.
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