Strategies for learning and performance support: a summary

To wrap up this series of posts on strategies for learning and performance support, here’s a summary of the characteristics of each. To see the original posts, click on the images above or the column headers below.

  Exposition Instruction Guided discovery Exploration
Examples Lectures, presentations, policy documents, all types of required reading / viewing / listening Group instruction, on-job training, self-study materials Simulations, scenarios, games, discussion, case studies, projects, action learning, coaching Reading lists, links, online search, unconferences, social networking, social bookmarking, blogs;
Role of the teacher/trainer Subject expert Instructor Facilitator Curator
Nature of the learning experience Learning material is delivered to the learner From the general to the specific / theory to practice; questioning and practical exercises are used to check for learning at each stage From the specific to the general; practical exercises and real-world experiences provide a basis for reflection and for the formulation of general principles The learner uses their own initiative to satisfy their particular needs for information and understanding, making use of available resources
Outcomes Communication of the material according to an established curriculum; no guarantee of the extent to which the material is retained Knowledge and skills transfer, with relatively predictable results based on specific objectives Development of insights and deeper levels of understanding; outcomes will vary from learner to learner Learners access whatever expertise it is they need; outcomes are entirely unpredictable
Nature of the interaction Minimal – perhaps just Q&A Structured exercises, Q&A  Structured exercises Ad-hoc, peer-to-peer
Who’s in control? The teacher/trainer – this is a push process The teacher/trainer – this is a push process The teacher/trainer – this is a push process The learner – this is a pull process
Suitable for what type of learner Independent learners and those with more experience of the subject Anyone, but particularly more dependent learners and relative novices Anyone, as long as they are well supported and personal risk is minimised Independent learners and those with more experience of the subject
Suitable for what type of learning Familiarisation with a body of knowledge All types of knowledge and skill, particularly those that really do have to be acquired Understanding of principles and processes; attitude shifting; refinement of skills Just-in-time information; knowledge updates; exploration beyond the curriculum; creating new knowledge